Who Watches the Watchers? Philadelphia Sheriff's Office May Owe Millions in Unclaimed Property

According to an article on Philly.com, the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office may owe the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania millions in unclaimed property.  The sheriff's office in Philly, as elsewhere, is generally responsible for conducting foreclosure sales and other auctions.  The proceeds for such sales are generally paid to the creditors of the former property owner, but sometimes the auction proceeds are more than the outstanding debt.  In such cases, the balance is properly payable to the former property owner.  In the event that the owner cannot be identified, the Sheriff's Office, like other holders is required to remit the funds to the Treasurer pursuant to the Unclaimed Property Act.

According to the report, the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office has not filed an unclaimed property report since 2006, after having escheated in excess of $5 million over the 2002-05 period.  Moreover, there appear to be no records documenting what happened to any excess auction proceeds since 2006.  The Sheriff's Office is currently conducting an investigation.

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