EXCLUSIVE: At a time when every segment of our industry is struggling with layoffs and furloughs because of the coronavirus pandemic, the $9.3 billion owed to many that is just sitting there in a California state Unclaimed Property fund might well come in handy.
The state of California owes the Motion Picture & Television Fund $24,025 — money the MPTF could sorely use right now in its efforts to provide assistance to the industry's suddenly unemployed workforce, while itself dealing with the first COVID-19 outbreak at its skilled nursing facility in Woodland Hills.
The money owed is part of the State Controller's $9.3 billion Unclaimed Property fund, which includes some 48 million separate accounts. The money held in more than 100 MPTF accounts includes forgotten checks, savings accounts, dividends, accounts payable, and commissions that were turned over to the state after sitting idle in banks for more than three years. The eight largest MPTF accounts hold more than $16,000.
“The Controller is safeguarding millions of unclaimed properties for Californians,” Jennifer Hanson, press secretary to State Controller Betty Yee, told Deadline. “From an account that sat dormant for too long, to a final paycheck that never got picked up, people should check to see if any of those properties belong to them. In challenging times, even a small find could make a big difference.”
Because accounts can be spread out over various — and often incorrect — versions of a business' name, they can be difficult to locate on the Controller's searchable database. The MPTF's unclaimed funds are listed under 13 different permutations of the Motion Picture & Television Fund, including those with and without the ampersand, and one under MPRF — the acronym for the Motion Picture Relief Fund, which was the name of the fund when it was founded in 1921.
“We have property-owner advocates to help groups locate multiple properties,” Hanson said. “They're here to help.”
Businesses can get assistance locating and applying for unclaimed funds here.
Many of the industry's other charities and non-profits also have money sitting in the Unclaimed Property fund as well, gathering dust — and no interest. Among them:
• Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation has an uncashed cashier's check for $1,000 • The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation misidentified in the searchable database as the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation is owed $2,702 in dividends • The Sundance Institute has $5,000 in accounts receivable • Women In Film is owed more than $4,000 • The Entertainment Industry Foundation is owed $3,000 • The NAACP Image Awards is owed $2,500 • The Mary Pickford Foundation is owed $1,500 • The American...