We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, April 5. 2017
This is a rant. If you think government works for the people, you may not want to read this. If you know government is essentially a means for legal theft, read on. I have just gone through a mind-numbing process which has left me absolutely cold and more determinedly Libertarian. Shrink the government, and shrink it fast. Don't worry about the process. Just time to get rid of the stupid, inefficient and idiotic things it does.
When my son was born, a friend bought a single share of Disney stock for him. Today, that would be slightly more than 3 (3.04) shares. At today's price, that represents $339.
When my son graduated from college, he began to pull together all his savings bonds, gifts, and various financial instruments to see what was at his disposal. Sadly, he couldn't get the stock. It had been taken by the state of NJ in 2012. Presumably because the corporation had had no contact with me for over 5 years. Which is strange. I contacted the corporate offices and they had my name, address, email, and phone number. All of the correct information.
I never received any notifications of escheatment, never received any kind of warning from the shareholder office or the state.
What is even more galling is what happened after escheatment. NJ law stipulates after 1 year any financial instruments are to be sold. This meant the state was now holding about $220 in my son's unclaimed property, rather than the stock itself.
It's amazing to me that the state will have no problem finding me in 10 days to take my taxes. But when they take my property, they won't lift a finger to find me.
In fact, that's literally what the two brainless bureaucrats at Unclaimed Property Administration said to me. The state does nothing, outside of advertise in newspapers and the web, to contact people whose property they are holding. Here's the kicker. I was told the stock was sold in 2013, but the advertisement wasn't made until 2014. In other words, they held it for 2 years before even letting the world know they held it. So there was no way we were getting the stock back.
I can point fingers at the corporate shareholder office for not trying hard enough. They certainly didn't. But they would, presumably, keep trying unless the law steps in. The law did, in fact, step in and once its process started, nothing was done to assist in 'finding' me. The state, which presumably has greater resources to contact me when they want my taxes, didn't lift a finger to find me. The response from the unclaimed property division is that they have no relationship with the tax division. Of course not. That would actually require intelligence.
My son is only out $110, so this isn't the end of the world. As a big picture example of how useless government is, though - this is a classic example.
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How many other people are in the same position?
I am sure the total numbers and the dollars are huge... and the income hidden somewhere.
"My son is only out $110, so this isn't the end of the world."
No, but multiplied by all the other people who are out money as a result of the same sort of egregious bureaucratic fiddling, I'll bet the figure would be more damning.
See if you can find a class action lawyer to review the escheatment process in NJ and find any legal flaws in it. If so, he can file a class action against the State of New Jersey. He'll only do so if he/she can come up with a viable theory that he thinks he/she can make money on, but if so you may actually be able to get your money back (although it's the lawyer that may get big bucks in attorneys' fees).
When one find's oneself in New Jersey one throws the f*ng ring in the big f*ng volcano and goes back to the shire.
Which, apparently, is Arvada, Colorado:
https://email@example.com,-105.1480198,3a,75y,181.29h,79.39t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4po4BsKV1Et2EEUk9PhPug!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1 (pan to the left)
Had an acquaintance who couldn't take the Mexification of Arizona any more with the violence and drugs and moved to some small town in Idaho. He told me the county voted 85% in favor of Trump.
I'm sorry that you live in NJ. I hope that you can remedy that soon. (https://freestateproject.org/)
$110 is rather cheep for a lesson in why your son should avoid government (and not become a socialist). Hopefully, that out weighs the tens of thousands of dollars for indoctrination he was subjected to for the last few years.
Es: from the Latin is/are
Cheat, Verb: to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage
Ment: the result of what is denoted by the verb
Street slang interpretation: You've been screwed.
Not totally unrelated - Some years back, my sister-in-law got a letter from some outfit that specializes in tracking down the owners of unclaimed monies, they of course wanted a fee for giving her any information beyond the fact that they knew she had a claim. She was so mad that these people were ripping her off by not telling her what they knew and no amount of explaining to her that they were doing her a favor by telling her something she didn't know could convince her they weren't ripping her off.
She finally paid, IIRC, about $80 to find out her deceased mother had been included in a settlement for about $800 involving the company she had worked at for years that had gone bankrupt. Of course the state somehow knew the woman was deceased so they took the money but they had no knowledge and no interest in attempting to find the next-of-kin. Funny how that works.
But my sister-in-law still insists it was the people wanting $80 to tell her the state had stolen $800 from her dead mother that were the ones ripping her off.
Contrast with Virginia:
In mid 80's I began working for a company that offered stock to its employees. At some point they ended that program and offered to buy stock the employees had. I fumbled the paperwork, and wound up with a stock certificate for a few shares.
Several mergers and acquisitons (and many years) later, Xerox was the effective owner. I tried to find out how to convert my shares to Xerox shares, but was told it wasn't possible... too much time elapsed.
Virginia runs ad campaigns along the lines of "Hey, we got your money! Come and get it!"
I filled out an application and about 3 months later got a check for $17,000.
So, flee the corrupt states.
Samsam von Virginia
NJ runs these ads, too.
Who pays attention to them, particularly if you think you've got access to the shares? I had no idea they were taken.
The two bureaucrats told me that it would be "too expensive" to contact everyone. Perhaps it would be. So then don't take it. But if you do, contact people individually. The state has the resources. They just don't utilize them.
Florida is like Virginia, even has a website you can look stuff up.
NJ has a website, too. It was easy to find, once we found out what had happened. For years we'd been telling him these shares were his - we even had the certificate!
We had no idea the state could just take it and sell it, especially since they had our information.
Actually it was a fair deal moneywise. You also got rid of loss when you got rid of gain as a possibility, i.e. you got the fair market price. Who knew at the time what direction the stock would go.
You did get cheated out of the option to hold the stock longer, which would be a zero-sum game except for tax timing.
From a purely objective standpoint - you are correct.
However, we'd have held the stock. In fact, that's what we thought we were doing.
So in reality, our option to choose what we wanted to do was taken from us, and while you can make a case that it was 'fair' the reality is it wasn't fair.
We were not given a choice. We had our choice stolen from us, which in effect means our money was stolen.
I'm a lawyer who has done some work in defending taxpayers in this area. You have encountered the dreaded "unclaimed property" laws of New Jersey. Contrary to some prior posters, all of the states have such laws. Some are more reasonable than others, but they all work pretty similarly. Except for Delaware, which raises a significant portion of its annual revenue from unclaimed property (I believe it's the third largest source of revenue for that state, but they wrench it out of corporations, not individuals).
Here is just one of a litany of articles explaining the many abuses occurring under state unclaimed property laws: https://www.crowell.com/files/Are-States-Es-Cheating-You.pdf
These laws have medieval origins, that assume all unclaimed property is rightfully owned by the (English) Crown!
I can top that story, and I am from Texas.
About 3 years ago, I had roughly $350K in a savings account at a local credit union. My checking account had grown, so I tried to move some money from checking to savings, using the CU webpage. Could not do it. I was blocked from my savings account because there had been no activity for 3 years. The state was coming for my money.
Edward Jones sent me a letter saying that if I didnt make an appointment to 'review' my account they would take it away from me. I told them to close my account
This is true, at least in my state, for bank accounts too. If my checking or savings account shows no activity (If I don't make a deposit, withdrawal or write a check) over a xx period of time the state can, and dose grab my money.
Corruption starts at town hall level. Everyone who runs for office runs to serve....him or herself. If you have ever benefited from government it is only because you were a cog used to get someone at the top what they wanted. They are all thieves and liars.
Get out of New Jersey. Move West. Many empty western states that are red that are a real joy to live in with a lot less people, wide open spaces and nowhere near the stifling politics of the DC/NY corridor.
Your ire is misplaced. The state didn't "take" your property. The state was given your property by the corporate office. The error that was made was that of Disney in not attempting to locate you and/or pretending that the property was unclaimed.
Yes, the beauracracy failed you, but you were failed first by the corporation that your son was a part owner of. Without these laws, Disney could have, and would have, simply returned the shares to their treasury. Now multiply that by the bazillions of dollars that find their way into the unclaimed category and you'll see just why these laws are important.
Finally, as a taxpaying citizen of NJ, I'd have a lot of problems with a beauracracy that spends more money finding people than the unclaimed property is worth.
I pointed that out.
But once the bureaucracy took the stock, they had no right to sell it.
These laws don't add value. You may think it's OK for the state to say "hey, that's unclaimed, we'll take it off your hands because we need the money" but I don't. If Disney HAD returned the money to their treasury, if and when the day came that we asked for our shares, they likely would have turned them over....no muss, no fuss on their part.
The state taking these shares, then selling, is clearly a desire to add money to state coffers and hoping nobody comes looking.
Which is wrong. As a taxpaying citizen of NJ, I agree that spending money to find people is a problem. Thing is, they HAVE ALL MY INFORMATION. Finding me is not expensive. It's a 15 second cross-reference on a database. Get it?