The offices of Fletcher Recovery Group occupy a suite in an unassuming house on 24 Skillman St. in Roslyn, in a developing neighborhood still largely occupied by residential properties. The suite next door is a yoga studio.
It’s the kind of place that would be easy to miss on a drive-by, and easier still to receive no impression of the fact that the business has helped roughly 50,000 clients recover about $100 million total in unclaimed funds being held by the Office of the New York State Comptroller.
And no, it’s not a scam.
“The way the laws are structured now, anything from a giftcard to cryptocurrency to actual court-deposited funds can all end up at the state as unclaimed funds,” Howard Mintz, owner of Fletcher Recovery Group, told the Roslyn News. “If it has monetary value, they’re going to eventually find it and take custody of it.”
Unclaimed funds stem from many different sources, anything from pension benefits to unclaimed tax breaks to insurance payments to uncashed checks or lost stocks. Most of it winds up making its way into the care of state and federal agencies. A 2013 report found that about $58 billion in unclaimed funds were being held by government organizations nationwide—nearly $200 per person in the United States—and that number has only grown in the nearly seven years since.
New York in particular is holding a large amount of abandoned money, about $16 billion as of 2018 according to the state comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds, due to both its large and wealthier-than-average population as well as the influence of New York City’s status as a financial Mecca.
“They have so much money in the comptroller’s office, and I don’t think they’re accounting for interest and capital appreciation in a lot of their accounts,” Mintz said. “They do an awesome job, they pay out about $400 million every year. But they’re taking in about $1 billion a year, they simply can’t keep up with it.”
For about a decade since its founding, Fletcher Recovery Group has acted as a middleman to help people around the country recover unclaimed funds. In that time, Mintz has grown used to the skepticism of would-be customers.
“There’s two main constants here,” Mintz said. “One is that there’s more and more unclaimed money going to the government every year, and the other is that people remain skeptical of that and our service. But it’s real.”
To advance their own efforts, Fletcher recently started a website, www.unclaimedfunds.com, to help expedite the process. Anybody can visit the website, type in their name and find out if the government is holding money they’re owed. From there, recovering the money is a matter of filling out a handful of documents Fletcher sends to the state. In the end, the company takes 15 percent of the recovered funds as compensation, a number determined by state law.
Anybody can reach out to the state comptroller themselves to try and retrieve any money they’re due without using an intermediary, but that process can be time-consuming and arduous. Mintz’s company, he said, exists to make that ordeal more convenient.
“We’re trying to break that barrier,” Mintz said. “We’re trying to educate so that people are aware that this exists. And then we’re trying to help people get the money, and turn a profit while doing so, but it’s tough for sure.”
For anybody still skeptical of the organization, Mintz encouraged them to look into the issue themselves.
“The best way to legitimize what you do is not to ask for any money upfront, and only take a percentage of what you recover,” Mintz said. “With everything going on these days, you’re right to have your guard up. I would say look into it, do your own research and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Anybody looking for more information can contact the Office of the State Comptroller at 800-221-9311 or www.osc.state.ny.us.