Senate
House
Joint
Bill Status
WV Code
Audits/ Reports
Educational
Contact
home
home

Introduced Version House Bill 3003 History

DOWNLOAD  wpd  |  Email


hb3003 intr
H. B. 3003


(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss, and

Delegates Amores and Trump)


[Introduced
March 11, 2005 ; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]


A BILL to amend and reenact §36-8-2, §36-8-7, §36-8-8, §36-8-12, §36-8-15, §36-8-17 and §36-8-23 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend said code by adding thereto four new sections, designated §36-8-5a, §36-8-5b, §36-8-15a and §36-8-15b; and to amend and reenact §36-8A-4 of said code, all relating to unclaimed property; shortening the abandonment period for stock, for bonds, for mineral proceeds and for demutualization proceeds; prohibiting expiration dates and dormancy fees on gift certificates, and stating that a violation of that provision constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice; limiting heirfinder fees; waiving notary requirements for unclaimed property reports and requiring holders to submit electronically; authorizing the administrator to require that holders liquidate securities and report proceeds as unclaimed property; authorizing the administrator to sell safe-deposit box contents through electronic auction or other methods; waiving notary requirements for claims under five hundred dollars and limiting the administrator's liability for duplicate claims payment; authorizing payment of heirs or devisees of deceased unclaimed property owners; authorizing any state agency, board or commission owed delinquent funds by any person to claim that person's property to offset delinquent amounts owed that agency; applying the provisions of the act to pre-abandoned property; authorizing the administrator to cooperate with state agencies or with other states to locate property or pay claims; and allowing unclaimed stolen property to be auctioned electronically or through other methods.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §36-8-2, §36-8-7, §36-8-8, §36-8-12, §36-8-15, §36-8-17 and §36-8-23 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; that said code be amended by adding thereto four new sections, designated §36-8-5a, §36-8-5b, §36-8-15a and §36-8-15b; and that §36-8A-4 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 36. ESTATES AND PROPERTY.

ARTICLE 8. THE UNIFORM UNCLAIMED PROPERTY ACT.
§36-8-2. Presumptions of abandonment.

(a) Property is presumed abandoned if it is unclaimed by the apparent owner during the time set forth below for the particular property:
(1) Traveler's check, fifteen years after issuance;
(2) Money order, seven years after issuance;
(3) Stock or other equity interest in a business association or financial organization, including a security entitlement under article eight of the uniform commercial code, five three years after the earlier earliest of: (i) The date of the most recent dividend, stock split or other distribution unclaimed by the apparent owner; or (ii) the date of the second mailing of a statement of account or other notification or communication that was returned as undeliverable; or after (iii) the date the holder discontinued mailings, notifications or communications to the apparent owner;
(4) Debt of a business association or financial organization, other than a bearer bond or an original issue discount bond, five years after the date of the most recent interest payment unclaimed by the apparent owner;
(4) Unmatured or unredeemed debt, other than a bearer bond or an original issue discount bond, three years after the date of the most recent interest payment unclaimed by the owner;
(5)áUnpaid matured or redeemed debt, three years after the date of maturity or redemption;
(5) (6) A noninterest bearing demand, savings or time deposit, including a deposit that is automatically renewable, five years after the earlier of maturity or the date of the last indication by the owner of interest in the property; an interest bearing demand, savings or time deposit including a deposit that is automatically renewable, seven years after the earlier of maturity or the date of the last indication by the owner of interest in the property. A deposit that is automatically renewable is deemed matured for purposes of this section upon its initial date of maturity, unless the owner has consented to a renewal at or about the time of the renewal and the consent is in writing or is evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file with the holder;
(6) (7) Money or credits owed to a customer as a result of a retail business transaction, three years after the obligation accrued;
(7) (8) Gift certificate, three years after the thirty-first day of December of the year in which the certificate was sold, but if redeemable in merchandise only, the amount abandoned is deemed to be sixty percent of the certificate's face value as provided in section five-a of this article;
(8) (9) Amount owed by an insurer on a life or endowment insurance policy or an annuity that has matured or terminated, three years after the obligation to pay arose or, in the case of a policy or annuity payable upon proof of death, three years after the insured has attained, or would have attained if living, the limiting age under the mortality table on which the reserve is based;
(9) (10) Property distributable by a business association or financial organization in a course of dissolution, one year after the property becomes distributable;
(10) (11) Property received by a court as proceeds of a class action, and not distributed pursuant to the judgment, one year after the distribution date;
(11) (12) Property held by a court, government, governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality, one year after the property becomes distributable;
(12) (13) Wages or other compensation for personal services, one year after the compensation becomes payable;
(13) (14) Deposit or refund owed to a subscriber by a utility, two years after the deposit or refund becomes payable;
(14) (15) Property in an individual retirement account, defined benefit plan or other account or plan that is qualified for tax deferral under the income tax laws of the United States, three years after the earliest of the date of the distribution or attempted distribution of the property, the date of the required distribution as stated in the plan or trust agreement governing the plan, or the date, if determinable by the holder, specified in the income tax laws of the United States by which distribution of the property must begin in order to avoid a tax penalty;
(15) (16) Warrants for payment issued by the State of West Virginia which have not been presented for payment, within six months of the date of issuance;
(16) All funds held by a fiduciary, including the state municipal bond commission, for the payment of a note, bond, debenture or other evidence or indebtedness, five years after the principal maturity date, or if such note, bond, debenture or evidence of indebtedness is called for redemption on an earlier date, then the redemption date, such premium or redemption date to also be applicable to all interest and premium, if any, attributable to such note, bond, debenture or other evidence of indebtedness; and
(17) Mineral proceeds, three years after the proceeds are payable or distributable. Any mineral proceeds later accruing as a result of the same underlying right and not previously presumed abandoned are presumed abandoned at the time of accrual; and
(18) Property distributable in the course of the demutualization of an insurance company is presumed abandoned as follows:
(i) Any funds, two years after the date of the demutualization, if the funds remain unclaimed and the owner has not otherwise communicated with the holder or its agent regarding the property as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file with the holder or its agent;
(ii) Any stock, two years after the date of the demutualization, if instruments or statements reflecting the distribution are either mailed to the owner and returned by the post office as undeliverable or not mailed to the owner because of an address on the books and records of the holder that is known to be incorrect and the owner has not otherwise communicated with the holder or its agent regarding the property as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file with the holder or its agent;
(iii) A holder of unclaimed property described in subdivision (i) shall file an initial report of unclaimed demutualization proceeds not later than the first day of November, two thousand five, for the period ending the thirtieth day of June, two thousand four;
(iv) As used in this section, "demutualization" means the process of converting a mutual membership company to a stock-based company, regardless if undertaken in conjunction with a plan of demutualization, liquidation, merger, or other form of reorganization; and
(v) Demutualization property not otherwise subject to this section is subject to subdivision (19) of subsection (a) of this section;
(17) (19) All other property, five years after the owner's right to demand the property or after the obligation to pay or distribute the property arises, whichever first occurs.
(b) At the time that an interest is presumed abandoned under subsection (a) of this section, any other property right accrued or accruing to the owner as a result of the interest, and not previously presumed abandoned, is also presumed abandoned.
(c) Property is unclaimed if, for the applicable period set forth in subsection (a) of this section, the apparent owner has not communicated in writing or by other means reflected in a contemporaneous record prepared by or on behalf of the holder, with the holder concerning the property or the account in which the property is held, and has not otherwise indicated an interest in the property. A communication with an owner by a person other than the holder or its representative who has not in writing identified the property to the owner is not an indication of interest in the property by the owner.
(d) An indication of an owner's interest in property includes:
(1) The presentment of a check or other instrument of payment of a dividend or other distribution made with respect to an account or underlying stock or other interest in a business association or financial organization or, in the case of a distribution made by electronic or similar means, evidence that the distribution has been received;
(2) Owner-directed activity in the account in which the property is held, including a direction by the owner to increase, decrease or change the amount or type of property held in the account;
(3) The making of a deposit to or withdrawal from a bank account; and
(4) The payment of a premium with respect to a property interest in an insurance policy; but the application of an automatic premium loan provision or other nonforfeiture provision contained in an insurance policy does not prevent a policy from maturing or terminating if the insured has died or the insured or the beneficiary of the policy has otherwise become entitled to the proceeds before the depletion of the cash surrender value of a policy by the application of those provisions.
(e) Property is payable or distributable for purposes of this article notwithstanding the owner's failure to make demand or present an instrument or document otherwise required to obtain payment.
§36-8-5a. Gift certificates - expiration, dormancy fees prohibited - definitions.
(a) As used in this section, 'gift certificate' or 'gift card' means a prefunded tangible or electronic record evidencing an issuer's agreement to provide goods, services, credit, money or anything of value. A 'gift certificate' or 'gift card' includes, but is not limited to, a tangible card; electronic card; stored-value card; or certificate or similar instrument, card, or tangible record that contains a microprocessor chip, magnetic chip, or other means for the storage of information and for which the value is decremented upon each use.
(b) On and after the first day of July, two thousand five, no person or entity may sell a gift certificate or gift card containing an expiration date to a purchaser. Any gift certificate or gift card sold after the first day of July, two thousand five, is redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement with a new gift certificate or gift card entitling the bearer to goods or services in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the original gift certificate or gift card or the amount remaining after use, if any, at no cost to the bearer. The issuer of the gift certificate has the option to redeem the remaining value of the gift certificate or gift card for cash or offer a replacement certificate or card: Provided, That if the amount remaining is less than one dollar, it is redeemable for cash.
(c) A gift certificate or gift card sold without an expiration date is valid until redeemed or replaced.
(d) A gift certificate is presumed abandoned three years after the thirty-first day of December of the year in which the certificate was sold, but if redeemable in merchandise only, the amount abandoned is deemed to be sixty percent of the certificate's face value.
(e) Subsection (b) of this section does not apply to any of the following gift certificates or gift cards issued on or after the first day of July, two thousand five, if an expiration date appears in capital letters in at least ten-point type on the front of the gift certificate or gift card:
(1) Gift certificates or gift cards that are distributed by the issuer to a consumer pursuant to an awards, loyalty, or promotional program without any money or other thing of value being given in exchange for the gift certificate or gift card by the consumer; or
(2) Gift certificates or gift cards that are sold below face value at a volume discount to employers or to nonprofit and charitable organizations for fund-raising purposes and whose expiration date is not less than thirty days after the date of sale.
(f) No person may sell a gift certificate or gift card to a purchaser that contains a service fee, a dormancy fee, an inactivity fee, a maintenance fee, or any other type of fee.
(g) A person who violates subsection (b) or (f) of this section engages in an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of article six, chapter forty-six-a of this code.
§36-8-5b. Locator fees.
Any agreement to pay compensation to recover or assist in the recovery of property reported under this article is unenforceable, if it is made within eighteen months after the date the report is filed under section seven of this article or made within twelve months after the date payment or delivery is made under section eight of this article. No person may contract for, or receive from the claimant, an amount, including all expenses incurred, in excess of ten percent of the value of the abandoned property recovered. §36-8-7. Report of abandoned property.
(a) A holder of property presumed abandoned shall make a report to the administrator concerning the property. Holders shall submit reports in an electronic format as prescribed by the administrator. The administrator may waive this requirement when he or she determines, in his or her discretion, that enforcing the requirement would create an undue hardship.
(b) The report must be verified and must contain:
(1) A description of the property;
(2) Except with respect to a traveler's check or money order, the name, if known, and last known address, if any, and the social security number or taxpayer identification number, if readily ascertainable, of the apparent owner of property of the value of fifty dollars or more;
(3) An aggregated amount of items valued under fifty dollars each;
(4) In the case of an amount of fifty dollars or more held or owing under an annuity or a life or endowment insurance policy, the full name and last known address of the annuitant or insured and of the beneficiary;
(5) In the case of property held in a safe deposit box or other safekeeping depository, an indication of the place where it is held and where it may be inspected by the administrator, and any amounts owing to the holder;
(6) The date, if any, on which the property became payable, demandable or returnable, and the date of the last transaction with the apparent owner with respect to the property;
(7) A statement that the holder has complied with the requirements of subsection (e) of this section; and
(7) (8) Other information that the administrator by rule prescribes as necessary for the administration of this article.
(c) If a holder of property presumed abandoned is a successor to another person who previously held the property for the apparent owner or the holder has changed its name while holding the property, the holder shall file with the report its former names, if any, and the known names and addresses of all previous holders of the property.
(d) The report must be filed before the first day of November of each year and cover the twelve months next preceding the first day of July of that year, but a report with respect to a life insurance company must be filed before the first day of May of each year for the calendar year next preceding.
(e) The holder of property presumed abandoned shall send written notice to the apparent owner, not more than one hundred twenty days or less than sixty days before filing the report, stating that the holder is in possession of property subject to this article, if:
(1) The holder has in its records an address for the apparent owner which the holder's records do not disclose to be inaccurate;
(2) The claim of the apparent owner is not barred by a statute of limitations; and
(3) The value of the property is fifty dollars or more.
(f) Before the date for filing the report, the holder of property presumed abandoned may request the administrator to extend the time for filing the report. The administrator may grant the extension for good cause. The holder, upon receipt of the extension, may make an interim payment on the amount the holder estimates will ultimately be due, which terminates the accrual of additional interest on the amount paid.
(g) The holder of property presumed abandoned shall file with the report an affidavit stating that the holder has complied with subsection (e) of this section.
§36-8-8. Payment or delivery of abandoned property.
(a) Except for property held in a safe deposit box or other safekeeping depository, and except as otherwise provided in this section, upon filing the report required by section seven of this article, the holder of property presumed abandoned shall pay, deliver or cause to be paid or delivered to the administrator the property described in the report as unclaimed, but if the property is an automatically renewable deposit, and a penalty or forfeiture in the payment of interest would result, the time for compliance is extended until a penalty or forfeiture would no longer result. Property held in a safe deposit box or other safekeeping depository may not be delivered to the administrator until one hundred twenty days after filing the report required by section seven of this article.
(b) If the property reported to the administrator is a security or security entitlement under article eight of the uniform commercial code, the administrator is an appropriate person to make an indorsement, instruction or entitlement order on behalf of the apparent owner to invoke the duty of the issuer or its transfer agent or the securities intermediary to transfer or dispose of the security or the security entitlement in accordance with article eight of the Uniform Commercial Code.
(c) In lieu of requiring the transfer of a security to the administrator, the administrator may require that the holder liquidate the security and report the proceeds as unclaimed property. Securities listed on an established stock exchange must be sold at prices prevailing on the exchange at the time of sale. Other securities may be sold over the counter at prices prevailing at the time of sale or by any reasonable method authorized by the administrator.
Within sixty calendar days of any sale conducted pursuant to this subsection, the holder shall deliver to the administrator the monetary proceeds resulting from the sale, after deducting a proportionate share of the expense attributable from the sale to the property. The holder shall report the number of shares sold and the value of each share, as well as the expense attributable to the sale. The holder shall include in the reported property all interest, dividends, increments, earnings and accretions due, payable or distributable at the time of liquidation, and all earnings on the property between the time of liquidation and the time of reporting.
(c) (d) If the holder of property reported to the administrator is the issuer of a certificated security, the administrator has the right to obtain a replacement certificate pursuant to article eight, section four hundred eight of the Uniform Commercial Code, but an indemnity bond is not required.
(d) (e) An issuer, the holder, and any transfer agent or other person acting pursuant to the instructions of and on behalf of the issuer or holder in accordance with this section is not liable to the apparent owner and must shall be indemnified against claims of any person in accordance with section ten of this article.
§36-8-12. Sale of abandoned property.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the administrator, within three years after the receipt of abandoned property other than money with a cash value equal to its face value shall sell it to the highest bidder at public sale at a location in the state by the method and at the location which, in the judgment of the administrator, affords the most favorable market for the property.
(b) The administrator may decline the highest bid and reoffer the property for sale if the administrator considers the bid to be insufficient. The administrator need not offer the property for sale if the administrator considers that the probable cost of sale will exceed the proceeds of the sale. A sale held under this section must be preceded by a single publication of notice, at least three weeks before sale, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is to be sold published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code.
(c) The administrator may dispose of any abandoned property by any method if, in his or her opinion, the probable cost of public sale will exceed the value of the property. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to securities for which there is an established market and the administrator shall sell such securities in the manner customary in that market.
(b) (d) Securities listed on an established stock exchange must be sold at prices prevailing on the exchange at the time of sale. Other securities may be sold over the counter at prices prevailing at the time of sale or by any reasonable method selected by the administrator. If securities are sold by the administrator before the expiration of three years after their delivery to the administrator, a person making a claim under this article before the end of the three-year period is entitled to the proceeds of the sale of the securities less any deduction for expenses of sale. A person making a claim under this article after the expiration of the three-year period is entitled to receive the securities delivered to the administrator by the holder, if they still remain in the custody of the administrator, or the net proceeds received from sale, and is not entitled to receive any appreciation in the value of the property occurring after delivery to the administrator, except in a case of intentional misconduct or malfeasance by the administrator.
(c) (e) A purchaser of property at a sale conducted by the administrator pursuant to this article takes the property free of all claims of the owner or previous holder and of all persons claiming through or under them. The administrator shall execute all documents necessary to complete the transfer of ownership.
§36-8-15. Filing claim with administrator; handling of claims by administrator.

(a) A person, excluding another state, this state, or a governmental agency of this state, claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered to the administrator may file a claim on a form prescribed by the administrator and verified by the claimant. If the value of the property claimed is five hundred dollars or less, the administrator may accept in lieu of the affidavit verifying the claim, the claimant's unsworn statement, given under penalty of perjury in substantially the following form: "I certify under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct."
(b) Within ninety days after a claim is filed, the administrator shall allow or deny the claim and give written notice of the decision to the claimant. If the claim is denied, the administrator shall inform the claimant of the reasons for the denial and specify what additional evidence is required before the claim will be allowed. The claimant may then file a new claim with the administrator or maintain an action under section sixteen of this article.
(c) Within thirty days after a claim is allowed, the property or net proceeds of a sale of property must be delivered or paid by the administrator to the claimant.
(d) A claimant receiving property shall indemnify this state and its officers and employees against any liability on account of payment of the property.
(e)When payment or delivery of money or other property has been made in good faith to any claimant under the provisions of this chapter, any subsequent claimant who is lawfully entitled to the property may enforce his or her rights in appropriate proceedings against the claimant who received the property and may be awarded costs as in civil actions, including attorney's fees.
§36-8-15a. Small estate accounts.
(a) The administrator may approve a claim for unclaimed property made by an heir or devisee of a deceased owner as provided in this section:
(1) The claimant shall submit a listing of the heirs of the deceased owner.
(2) If the claimant is claiming property on behalf of all of the heirs or devisees of the deceased owner, the claimant shall submit a power of attorney signed by each of the heirs, authorizing the claimant to claim property on their behalf.
(3) The claimant shall submit an affidavit stating that he or she has exercised due diligence to determine whether there are any outstanding debts of the reported owner's estate, and that to the best of the claimant's knowledge there are none.
(4) If the owner died testate, the claimant shall provide a copy of the will.
(b) Each person receiving property under this section shall be personally liable for all lawful claims against the estate of the owner, but only to the extent of the value of the property received by such person under this section, exclusive of the property exempt from claims of creditors under the Constitution and laws of this state.
(c) Any heir or devisee of the owner, who was lawfully entitled to share in the property but did not receive his or her share of the property, may enforce his or her rights in appropriate proceedings against those who received the property and may be awarded costs as in civil actions, including attorney's fees.
(d) This section only applies if all of the unclaimed property held by the administrator on behalf of the owner at the time of the claim has an aggregate value of five thousand dollars or less and no person is currently qualified as administrator over the owner's estate.
§36-8-15b. Unclaimed property offset for delinquent debts owed state agencies, boards or commissions.

Any state agency, board or commission to which any person owes a debt that is delinquent, may claim property from the administrator as provided in this section.
(1) An agency, board or commission may periodically certify to the administrator information regarding persons who are liable for the payment of delinquent funds, whether for taxes, penalties, fees, interest, past-due support or other amounts authorized to be collected under provisions of the West Virginia Code.
(2) The information shall include the name, social security number or federal employer identification number, whichever is applicable, and last known address of the person owing the delinquent funds, the amount owed, and any other identifying information required by the administrator.
(3) The administrator shall compare the name and social security number or federal employer identification number, whichever is applicable, of reported owners with the information certified. If the name and associated social security number or federal employer identification number, whichever is applicable, of a reported owner appears among those certified, the administrator shall provide notification to the certifying agency, board or commission. The administrator shall include an updated owner address, if one is available.
(4) After receipt of the notification from the administrator that a reported owner name and social security number or federal identification number appears among those certified, if the director, commissioner or other individual or entity authorized by law to collect the debt determines that a claim should be made against the reported property, he or she shall notify the debtor that a withholding will be made from any unclaimed property otherwise payable to such debtor; instruct the debtor of the steps which may be taken to contest the determination that delinquent amounts are owed or the amount of the delinquency; and provide information with respect to the procedures to be followed, in the case of jointly owned property, to protect the share of the property which may be payable to another person.
(5) After satisfying the requirements of subdivision (4), the director, commissioner or other individual or entity authorized by law to collect the debt shall file a claim with the administrator for the property held in the name of the debtor.
(6) The administrator shall reduce the amount of the unclaimed property held for the debtor by the amount claimed, and shall transmit to the agency, board or commission an amount equal to the amount of the debt. If the amount of the unclaimed property is less than or equal to the amount of the debt, the administrator shall withhold the entire amount of the unclaimed property.
(7) The administrator may pay the agency, board or commission property claimed to satisfy a debt owed by a property owner, where the name or social security number of the debtor do not match that of an unclaimed property owner, but where other documentation is sufficient to establish that the debtor is also the owner of unclaimed property.
(8) In paying claims pursuant to this section, the administrator may rely upon the information provided by the state agency, board or commission, regarding delinquent funds owed, and is not required to investigate or further determine the accuracy of the information certified by the agency, board or commission.
(9) The state agency, board or commission receiving the property shall dispose of the property received as required by applicable law.
§36-8-17. Election to take payment or delivery.
(a) The administrator may decline to receive property reported under this article which the administrator considers to have a value less than the expenses of notice and sale.
(b) A holder, with the written consent of the administrator and upon conditions and terms prescribed by the administrator, may report and deliver property before the property is presumed abandoned. Property so delivered pursuant to this subsection must be held by the administrator and is not presumed abandoned until it otherwise would be presumed abandoned under this article unless the holder has provided notice to the apparent owners of the property as required by section seven of this article: Provided, That if the holder has provided notice to the apparent owners of the property as required by section seven of this article, then the abandonment period is considered met and all of the provisions of this article apply to the property just as if the property had met the required period of abandonment, and the administrator is not required to hold the property under this section.
§36-8-23. Interstate agreements and cooperation; joint and reciprocal actions with other states.

(a) The administrator may enter into an agreement with another state to exchange information relating to abandoned property or its possible existence disclose to another state or to an agency, board or commission of this state any information necessary to facilitate the payment of claims or the enforcement of the reporting of property. The agreement may permit the other administrator may enter into an agreement permitting a state agency, another state, or another person acting on behalf of a state, to examine records as authorized in section twenty of this article. The administrator by rule may require the reporting of information needed to enable compliance with an agreement made under this section and prescribe the form.
(b) The administrator may join with another state to seek enforcement of this article against any person who is or may be holding property reportable under this article.
(c) At the request of another state, the administrator's attorney may maintain an action on behalf of the other state to enforce, in this state, the unclaimed property laws of the other state against a holder of property subject to escheat or a claim of abandonment by the other state, if the other state has agreed to pay expenses incurred by the attorney general in maintaining the action.
(d) The administrator may request that the attorney general of another state or another attorney commence an action in the other state on behalf of the administrator. The administrator may retain any other attorney to commence an action in this state on behalf of the administrator. This state shall pay all expenses, including attorney's fees, in maintaining an action under this subsection. With the administrator's approval, the expenses and attorney's fees may be paid from money received under this article. The administrator may agree to pay expenses and attorney's fees based, in whole or in part, on a percentage of the value of any property recovered in the action. Any expenses or attorney's fees paid under this subsection may not be deducted from the amount that is subject to the claim by the owner under this article.
ARTICLE 8A. THE UNCLAIMED STOLEN PROPERTY ACT.
§36-8A-4. Disposition of unclaimed stolen property other than firearms and ammunition.

(a) Within ninety days of receipt of the Treasurer's response required by section three of this article, the law-enforcement agency shall dispose of all items identified in the Treasurer's response in the manner set forth in this section.
(b) If the Treasurer's report requires the law-enforcement agency to deliver any item to the Treasurer, the chief executive shall cause the item to be so delivered. Within three years after receiving the item from the law-enforcement agency, the Treasurer shall sell it to the highest bidder at public sale at a location in the state which in the judgment of the treasurer affords the most favorable market for the property in the manner provided in section twelve, article eight of this chapter. The Treasurer may decline the highest bid and reoffer the property for sale if the Treasurer considers the bid to be insufficient. The Treasurer need not offer the property for sale if the Treasurer considers that the probable cost of sale will exceed the proceeds of the sale. A sale held under this subsection must be preceded by a single publication of notice, at least three weeks before sale, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is to be sold.
(c) If the Treasurer's response authorizes the law-enforcement agency to sell any item at a public sale, the chief executive shall retain an auctioneer licensed by the state of West Virginia to conduct the sale. The costs or fees incurred will be paid from a fund generated from revenues gained by the sale of such property. The licensed auctioneer shall sell the item to the highest bidder at a location which in the judgment of the chief executive affords the most favorable market for the items may sell the property by the method and at the location which in the judgment of the chief executive affords the most favorable market for the property. A sale under this subsection must be preceded by a single publication of notice, at least three weeks before the sale, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is to be sold published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code. The chief executive shall retain the proceeds of any public sale under this subsection for the use of the law-enforcement agency.
(d) If the Treasurer's response authorizes the law-enforcement agency to donate any item to a nonprofit organization, the chief executive shall cause the item to be so donated.
(e) If the Treasurer's report authorizes the law-enforcement agency to use any item for any legitimate and authorized law-enforcement or educational purpose, the chief executive shall cause the item to be used for that purpose. However, if the law-enforcement agency ever discontinues its use of the item, it must again report the item to the Treasurer as provided in section two of this article.
(f) If the Treasurer's response authorizes the law-enforcement agency either to sell any item at a public sale, to donate it to a nonprofit organization or to use it for any legitimate and authorized law-enforcement or educational purpose, the chief executive may cause the item either to be sold, donated or used as provided in this section. However, the chief executive shall first attempt to donate the item as provided in subsection (d) of this section or to use it as provided in subsection (e) of this section before selling it at a public sale as provided in subsection (c) of this section.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to: (1) Shorten the abandonment period for stock, for mineral proceeds and for demutualization proceeds; (2) prohibit expiration dates and dormancy fees on gift certificates and state that a violation of that provision constitutes an unfair or deceptive act or practice; (3) limit heirfinder fees; (4) waive notary requirements for reports and require holders to submit unclaimed property reports electronically; (5) authorize the administrator to require that holders liquidate securities and report proceeds as unclaimed property; (6) authorize the administrator to sell safe-deposit box contents through electronic auction or other methods; (7) waive notary requirements for claims under five hundred dollars and limit the administrator's liability for duplicate claims payment; (8) authorize payment of heirs or devisees of deceased unclaimed property owners; (9) authorize a state agency, board or commission to claim property to offset delinquent payments owed to that agency; (10) apply the provisions of the act to pre-abandoned property; (11) authorize the administrator to cooperate with state agencies or with other states to locate property or pay claims; and (12) allow unclaimed stolen property to be auctioned electronically or through other methods.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

§§36-8-5a, 5b, 15a and 15b are new; therefore, underscoring and strike-throughs have been omitted.

This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2014 West Virginia Legislature ***