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Forgotten cash a windfall for Kettering family

Ohio’s unclaimed funds total is up to $2.6 billion.

A Kettering couple has been trying to unravel a mystery that surrounds a sizable pile of forgotten cash.

Cindy and Marvin Frilling recently learned from the I-Team that $54,203.21 is sitting in an unclaimed funds account in Columbus under the name of Minnie Frilling, Marvin’s late mother.

“I had no clue that kind of money would be floating around or sitting somewhere. Had no idea,” said Marvin.

Chances are, they’re not alone. The state is currently holding a total of $2.6 billion.

When money is left behind at banks, investment firms, insurance companies and other sources and the rightful owner cannot be found, the businesses holding the cash must turn it over to the state to be held in unclaimed funds.

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What baffles Marvin Frilling is that his mother lived for decades at the same address in Kettering and any attempt to find her would have been very easy.

His mother worked at Charles F. Kettering Memorial Hospital (now Kettering Medical Center) from the time it opened in 1964 until she was 78 years old. After Minnie’s passing in 2000, Marvin and his wife moved into his mother’s house.

“My mom and dad built this house in 1954. I moved away for a while and when mom passed away I wanted to live in this house. Nobody else has been in it, just our family,” Marvin said.

He was shocked to learn that Prudential Financial Corporation had turned over money to the state that was due to his mother. Marvin’s wife, Cindy, said Minnie was very careful with her finances and would have never lost track of that much money.

“It’s just incredible. She was very frugal. She wouldn’t spend money unless she had to,” Cindy Frilling said.

The Frilling’s case is more common than most people might imagine. The biggest single account in the Dayton region is in the name of the Glenn A. Wick Revocable Trust, totaling $215,474.91.

Wick, a former Kettering resident who died several years ago, may have been survived by several family members, but they either are unaware of the money’s availability, or are unable to claim it yet. George Sideras, a former neighbor, said he is hoping a family member is able to claim it.

“That’s an incredible amount of money,” Sideras said. “That’s like winning the lottery.”

RELATED: Greene County releases unclaimed funds list

Unlike the state lottery, where the winning numbers are publicized far and wide, unclaimed fund listings are only advertised by the state in local newspapers once a year. Still, online access to the fund listings is available at MissingMoney.com. A search by name can reveal any accounts being held in multiple states.

Lindsey Leberth, a spokesperson for the state Commerce Department, which runs unclaimed funds, said the department also uses social media to promote the program.

Leberth said the program began in 1968 and by law the money is held until it is claimed. If no one steps forward with a successful claim, it stays in Columbus, unable to be spent on any purpose.

The Rev. Daryl Ward, pastor of Omega Baptist Church, said the law should be changed to allow some portion of the funds that have languished for decades to be used for community grants. Ward recently learned that $51,791 is sitting in an account under the name “Accredited Theological Schools Ohio” at 1714 Harvard Blvd, Dayton.

The property where the old seminary school was located now belongs to Ward’s church, but the funds likely belong to the organization that ran the school, now headquartered in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh-based group has been notified about the money but they have not claimed it.

Ward said it is a waste to have the money sit in Columbus, when it could be spent in the community. “Somebody could use that,” he said. “Somebody could be blessed by that.”

Some of the money won’t likely ever be claimed. Take the case of the Springfield Machine Tool Company. The headquarters and factory at 631 W. Southern Ave., Springfield, is now a collection of aging brick warehouses and crumbling structures.

Virginia Weygandt, Director of Museum Collections at the Clark County Heritage Center, said the company dates back to the 1890s. Within four years of its opening, Weygandt said, the company grew to sell its industrial machine equipment to both domestic and international markets. But when the company closed in 1980, it left behind $94,235.35 that eventually wound up in unclaimed funds.

“I am sure it is frustrating because that money would be great to use in Springfield if someone was able to claim it,” Weygandt said. “If that was reinvested in Springfield, that would make a big difference.”

Marvin and Cindy have begun the process of claiming the money left in unclaimed funds under Marvin’s mother’s name. They said they may never know how it ended up in the hands of the state, but they do have an idea where they may spend it, if their claim is successful.

“There’s a little remodeling we need to do that Cindy would like to be done, that’s the bathroom,” Marvin said. “So I would think that would be completed now.”

Key facts about Ohio’s Unclaimed Funds program

  • The program began in 1968 and some accounts have been held there since the very beginning.
  • By law, unclaimed funds are held “in perpetuity,” the legal term for forever.
  • Anyone can search for unclaimed funds at MissingMoney.com.
  • The largest amount being held by the state from the Miami Valley is $215,474.91 in the name of Glenn A. Wick.
  • The total of all unclaimed funds held by the state: $2.6 billion.

Source: Ohio Department of Commerce

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