Margarette Burnette

Margarette Burnette

Finding money you didn’t know you had is like discovering lost treasure. For many people, there’s treasure to be found in old, forgotten bank accounts.

Las Vegas resident Michael Catania was surprised when he plugged his name into, a website for unclaimed-property searches, and learned that Massachusetts was holding money for him from a forgotten bank certificate of deposit.

The adjunct music professor had lived in four states over the past decade, including Massachusetts, where he had opened the $1,500 CD that had long since matured.

“I’m embarrassed that I forgot about an account with that much money,’’ he says, “but I was moving around a lot and the bank didn’t know how to reach me.’’

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, a group of state officers, nearly $42 billion is sitting in state coffers, having come from financial institutions and other businesses with dormant accounts. In addition to old bank accounts, the property often is from unclaimed insurance policies, uncashed paychecks and abandoned safe-deposit boxes.

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