Photo courtesy state Treasurer's Office

Louise says she was numb after seeing the check amount for the first time Wednesday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A former state resident thought she was getting a thousand, maybe a couple thousand dollars, at most from the state’s Unclaimed Property Fund in state Treasurer John Perdue’s office. She may have been the most surprised person in the state capitol Wednesday morning when the check totaling $290,353.15 was unveiled.

The treasurer’s office identifies her only as Louise, her last name not released for security reasons. Louise, 90, and her husband had business interests in West Virginia but she left the state after his death a few years ago. There were a number financial accounts that were never claimed, Perdue said.

“A checking account here, a CD, or something like that–and when he passed away and she sold her home and moved closer to her family out of state then a lot of it became misplaced and over a 10-year period in just kept coming into the treasurer’s office,” Perdue said.

A friend of Louise noticed her late husband’s name on the unclaimed property list and contacted her. Perdue’s staff then started to put the accounts together.

Louise told reporters she went “numb” when she saw the amount of the check. She said she didn’t know what she was going to do with the money.

“Maybe I can buy a house back here–I sold my other one,” she said. “It will save more airfare coming back and forth like I do.”

Louise added she could use the money to help more people.

Perdue said there are similar cases out there. The Unclaimed Property Fund contains millions of dollars that belong to residents, not the state. He said he’s thankful Louise agreed to make her case public.

“She agreed to help us with this program because she wanted to help other people find their money,” Perdue said.

Perdue praised his staff for its work on the case. It was the 12th largest check ever returned from the program.

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