August 6, 2012
DiNapoli and Project Heart Announce Joint Effort to Reunite Holocaust Survivors and Heirs with Unclaimed Funds
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Project HEART (Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce) today announced a partnership to reunite Holocaust survivors and their heirs with unclaimed funds that are rightfully theirs.
“This endeavor with Project HEART is a small step in ensuring that victims of the Holocaust and their heirs receive some of what was taken from them,” DiNapoli said. “I strongly urge other state comptrollers and treasurers to join this important effort. My office will work to provide restitution to Jewish victims of the Holocaust and their heirs.”
As New York’s custodian of approximately $12 billion in unclaimed funds, DiNapoli oversees the return of money that has been dormant or forgotten. The office of Unclaimed Funds has a database of more than 28 million lost accounts dating back to 1943 and, in some cases earlier, that it is matching with Project HEART’s database.
Project HEART is a global effort, led by the Jewish Agency for Israel in cooperation with the government of Israel, seeking to reach Jewish victims of the Holocaust and their heirs. The project’s goal is to record relevant information about personal property that was confiscated, looted or forcibly sold as a result of the Nazi occupation, and which has never been restituted. The ultimate aim of Project HEART is to provide the tools, strategy and information that will enable the government of Israel, Project HEART and their partners to secure a measure of justice for eligible Jewish victims and their heirs on behalf of the Jewish people.
State law requires banks, insurance companies, utilities, investment companies and many other businesses to turn over inactive accounts to the state. These funds are held in trust until they are claimed by their rightful owners. Types of unclaimed funds include insurance claims, un-cashed checks, old bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, stocks and dividends.
Individuals can perform free searches for unclaimed funds through the New York State Comptroller’s website, www.osc.state.ny.us or by calling 1-800-221-9311. Those interested in participating in Project HEART can fill out a questionnaire on HEART’s website, www.heartwebsite.org or call (414) 961-7417.