KGOU

Attorney Alleges Use Of Unclaimed Property Fund Is Illegal

Jun 22, 2015

An Oklahoma City attorney claims the state is essentially operating a Ponzi scheme by routinely raiding its Unclaimed Property Fund and using money that belongs to its citizens to fund state government operations. 

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged laws in the past, comes out of a hearing room at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562, in July 2014.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Attorney Jerry Fent alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday in Oklahoma County District Court that transfers from the Unclaimed Property Fund maintained by the state treasurer's office are illegal.

The Legislature routinely takes money from the fund to help balance the state budget, including about $50 million to help close a budget hole this year.

Treasurer's office spokesman Tim Allen said he had not seen the lawsuit and declined comment on the specifics of it.

Allen confirmed the fund has a current balance of about $90 million with outstanding liabilities of about $550 million.

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