Join now!   |   Subscribe   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In
Unclaimed Property Focus
Blog Home All Blogs
UNCLAIMED PROPERTY FOCUS is a blog written by and for UPPO members, featuring diverse perspectives and insights from unclaimed property practitioners across the U.S. and Canada. We welcome your submissions to Unclaimed Property Focus. Please contact Tim Dressen via tim@uppo.org with any questions about submitting a blog post for consideration and refer to our editorial guidelines when writing your blog post. Disclaimer: Information and/or comments to this blog is not intended as a substitute for legal advice on compliance or reporting requirements.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: unclaimed property  Compliance  education  UPPO  audits  Delaware  litigation  due diligence  Advocacy  reform  UPPO annual conference  Members  RUUPA  ULC  fall reporting  legislation  Gift Cards  reporting  UP101  UP Laws  Uniform Law Commission  VDAs  california  Canada  Holders Seminar  Texas  UPPO Asks  securities  service providers  Annual Conference 

Overstock Triumphs in Appeal of Delaware Qui Tam Decision

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 9, 2020

On June 24, 2020, the Supreme Court of Delaware ruled on behalf of Overstock.com in a reversal of a 2018 Superior Court decision that awarded the state of Delaware more than $7 million in treble damages for Delaware False Claims and Reporting Act violations.

 

At issue in The State of Delaware ex. rel. William Sean French v. Overstock.com Inc. was Overstock’s relationship with Card Compliant LLC (previously CardFact), a third-party Ohio-based company used to issue gift cards and assume certain gift card responsibilities. The case came about when a former Card Compliant employee filed a qui tam (whistleblower) lawsuit, alleging fraud against the government. Dozens of other defendants were dismissed from the lawsuit or settled, leaving Overstock as the only defendant.  

 

Among the various allegations, the plaintiffs claimed that some defendants didn’t account for the transfer of liability in the manner their contracts specified. According to the state, the liability wasn’t truly transferred and, thus, defendants had the obligation to remit unclaimed property to Delaware but didn’t do so.

 

Overstock raised multiple claims on appeal. The court addressed only one – that the Superior Court misinterpreted the Delaware False Claims and Reporting Act and improperly instructed the jury that the knowing failure to file escheat reports when required to do so was no different than actively making a false statement.

 

Overstock argued that the failure to file escheat reports does not satisfy the Act’s requirement that a false record or statement be made or used to avoid, conceal or decrease an obligation to the government. The company also argued that it did not make or use any false record or statement in connection with gift cards that violated the Act.

 

The court agreed with Overstock on this point and reversed the Superior Court decision.

 

“In order for Overstock to be found liable for making a reverse false claim under the applicable 2009 statute, it must have submitted a false record or statement that gave the state the impression that Overstock either did not owe the state money or owed the state less money than Overstock was required to pay,” the Delaware Supreme Court wrote in its decision. “The absence of a record or statement cannot form the basis of a reverse false claim under 6 Del. C. § 1201(a)(7) (2009).”

 

Read the complete decision.  

Tags:  Delaware  False Claims Act  Litigation  Overstock  Unclaimed Property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Advocacy Update

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 2, 2020

To help members remain aware of UPPO’s advocacy activities, the Unclaimed Property Focus blog presents the recurring Advocacy Update when legislatures are active or significant advocacy activity has occurred. Following are recent activities and trends from UPPO’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC).

 

Retirement Account Dormancy

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting so many areas of our lives in the past few months, it’s little surprise that it has led to complications related to unclaimed property. Passed last year, the SECURE Act changed the required minimum distribution date for individual retirement accounts from 70.5 to 72. The CARES Act, designed to ease the economic impact of the pandemic, waives the required minimum distribution for 2020. Because the required minimum distribution date may begin the unclaimed property dormancy period, holders are affected. GRAC is currently developing questions for holders to use when working with states to respond appropriately to this issue.

 

Certified Mail

Because some states have included language in their RUUPA bills requiring certified mail to be used for due diligence letters, GRAC is developing a position paper for UPPO expressing its objection to a certified mail requirement. However, should language be included in a RUUPA bill, UPPO’s position is to specify certified mail receipt cards be accepted as a form of contact, regardless of who signed the cards.

 

Savings Account Language

GRAC is also drafting recommended language to provide states that introduce RUUPA bills using incorrect language to address the treatment of Demand Deposit accounts versus standard savings accounts, which has become a trend.

 

Unclaimed Savings Bonds

Over the past several years, states have battled with the U.S. Treasury over unredeemed U.S. savings bonds. Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner led the state charge in the courts, arguing that proceeds from matured, unredeemed bonds should be turned over to the states. Last year, a federal appeals court ruled the Treasury is not required to do so. The plaintiffs are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. GRAC is reviewing the case to evaluate whether it is appropriate for UPPO to draft an amicus brief, taking a position on this issue.

 

Positive Legislation

Ohio HB 270, the Unclaimed Funds Reform Act, is moving quickly, having passed the House and under consideration in the Senate. Among other things, the bill would clarify the treatment of auto-renewing certificates of deposit.

 

Tennessee SB 1634 was signed into law by the governor on June 22, 2020. The bill increases the time before the state treasurer liquidates securities from “eight months to a year” to “32 to 36 months.” 

 

Reporting in California

California normally required unclaimed property reports to be filed via CD and paperwork. The state is now allowing holders to send reports via FTP. However, to take advantage of this process, holders first need to request permission. Contact the California State Controller’s Office for details.

Tags:  Advocacy  dormancy  due diligence  IRAs  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)
 

UPPO Announces Annual Members’ Choice Award Winners

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, June 23, 2020

With its annual Members’ Choice Awards, UPPO recognizes specific state administrators and unclaimed property programs for their excellence. UPPO members nominate candidates and choose the winners from the subsequent slate of nominees. Congratulations to this year’s recipients:

 

Unclaimed Property State Representative of the Year

The Unclaimed Property State Representative of the Year Members’ Choice Award recognizes a state administrator or staff person who has gone above and beyond to assist the holder community.

 

UPPO members chose Tom Egler and Debra Cancel from Florida to receive this honor. Tom is exemplary in his willingness to assist holders with reporting dilemmas, including online upload and portal access. Debra is quick to provide missing holder numbers and answer reporting question. This reporting and compliance duo are truly “best in class” and balance the state and owner interests with encouraging appropriate holder compliance.

 

Unclaimed Property State of the Year

The Unclaimed Property State of the Year Members’ Choice Award honors a state that has a holder-friendly approach across the entire program and staff, including a user-friendly website and accessibility to pertinent compliance information, as well as a commitment to engaging the holder community.

 

UPPO members chose Pennsylvania as this year’s winner. Pennsylvania and its representative, Barbara Benkovic, are helpful, reasonable and responsive. Pennsylvania has earned a reputation for genuinely caring about building solid holder relationships.

 

Advocacy Partner of the Year

The Advocacy Partner of the Year Members’ Choice Award recognizes the industry stakeholder group that has achieved significant positive change for the unclaimed property community or has advocated vigorously for change in a particular area of unclaimed property compliance and enforcement.

 

UPPO members chose American Bankers Association for the assistance it provided to the Holders’ Coalition and UPPO’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee in providing legislative information and local contacts with “feet on the ground,” which facilitated education of legislators and others on issues of importance to holders.

 

Legislation of the Year

The Legislation of the Year Members’ Choice Award is given to the governor and treasurer (or the highest appointed or elected official responsible for overseeing unclaimed property) of the state having the best piece of legislation that advances not only significant change in unclaimed property compliance but also one or all of the follow guiding principles:

  • Increases clarity.
  • Establishes or recommits to fairness for all stakeholders.
  • Establishes rules consistent and uniform of other states.

 

UPPO members chose Tennessee for pending legislation, S.B. 1634, which awaits approval by the governor. If enacted, this bill would increase the holding period for securities remitted to the state and prevent remitted securities liquidation for an extended period of time.

 

Congratulations to this year’s winners and thank you for your work with the unclaimed property community.

Tags:  awards  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Litigation Update: AT&T, Siemens, Eaton and Fruit of the Loom Challenge Delaware’s Authority

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 18, 2020

AT&T Capital Services, Inc. et al. v. Geisenberger, et al.

Siemens USA Holdings, Inc. v. Geisenberger et al.

Eaton Corporation et al. v. Geisenberger et al.

Fruit of the Loom, Inc. et al. v. Geisenberger et al.

 

Among the most noteworthy unclaimed property court cases currently in progress are separate lawsuits filed in December 2019 against the state of Delaware by AT&T Capital Services, Siemens USA Holdings, Eaton Corporation and Fruit of the Loom.

 

Although not identical, the cases have similarities. In all four cases, the companies had been undergoing an audit conducted by a third-party auditor for at least five years. The companies joined the state’s expedited audit program after Delaware passed S.B. 13, which – among other unclaimed property reforms – allowed companies under audit to request an expedited audit within 60 days after the escheator adopted new estimation regulations. As the 18-month expedited audit period ended, Delaware claimed the companies had not complied with its information requests for information about claims with addresses in states other than Delaware. The state then terminated the companies’ participation in the expedited audit program.

 

The plaintiff companies’ claims include:

 

Unreasonable search and seizure

  • Delaware is subpoenaing and demanding documents that are not legitimate exercises of authority, are too indefinite and not reasonable relevant. These include records regarding unclaimed property claims with addresses other than Delaware.

Procedural due process and equal protection

  • Delaware is using Kelmar, a self-interested, third-party auditor as an adjudicator.

Substantial due process, ex post facto clause, takings clause and federal common law

  • Delaware uses records requested from the companies to prepare ex post facto estimation of amounts owed.
  • Estimation conflicts with federal common law established in the Texas trilogy of cases by using information from states other than Delaware in violation of the supremacy and due process clauses, and represents unreasonable search and seizure.
  • Requests for transactions associated with non-Delaware addresses and termination from the expedited audit for not complying violate substantive due process as deliberate and arbitrary abuses of power.
  • Delaware demands documents it lacks authority to take in violation of the takings clause.
  • Many of the information requests are ex post facto because they penalize the failure to keep records companies were not previously obligated to keep until S.B. 13 was passed in 2017.

 

Delaware claims the federal cases are not yet ripe and should be dismissed. The state also claims the companies failed to state claims in part because Delaware interprets the federal common law from the Texas trilogy of cases differently.

 

In only the AT&T case, Delaware asked for the case to be stayed or the District Court to decline jurisdiction because of a pending state action regarding Delaware’s escheat laws and the state court needs the opportunity to address those issues before the federal court proceeds.

 

In December 2019, the companies filed suit alleging violations of constitutional and federal law. Delaware responded by filing suit in the Chancery Court only against AT&T, seeking enforcement of the administrative subpoena. In January 2020, Delaware filed motions to dismiss the federal cases, and the parties filed motions to keep the cases in federal court.

 

UPPO will continue to monitor and report on these cases as noteworthy developments occur.

 

 

Tags:  Delaware  litigation  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Congratulations, Unclaimed Property Certificate Recipients

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 11, 2020

UPPO congratulates 44 members who successfully completed the Unclaimed Certificate Program basic tier, and 20 who achieved the intermediate tier certificate.

 

Achieving the certificate requires completion of a series of live and on-demand webinars and UPPO Annual Conference sessions – offered online this year as a result of the conference cancellation – along with a passing grade on quizzes following each event.

 

Topics for the basic tier include unclaimed property introduction and terms, due diligence, reporting and remitting, dormancy, record review and retention, dormancy, priority rules, and why unclaimed property matters to management.

 

The intermediate tier builds on the basic tier's fundamentals, taking a deeper look at unclaimed property in 10 sessions, including pre-escheat best practices,  benefit plans, use of third-party administrators, post-escheat considerations, recovery best practices, policies and procedures, general ledger, record keeping, estimation, and exemptions and deductions.

 

Earning these certificates demonstrates knowledge and expertise in the unclaimed property field. Congratulations to this year’s recipients for their hard work and achievement. Watch for details and registration availability for the 2020/21 certificate program class in the coming weeks.

 

Basic Tier Certificate Recipients

Sue Auten, Consolidated Communications

Brittany Bryan, JMS Advisory Group, Llc

Rene Bucci, Ally Bank

Jakeria Clark, ETRADE Financial Corporation

Noah Dase, Ryan LLC

Brianna Dell’Isola, Ryan LLC

Katie Denning, CountryMark Refining & Logistics

Edna Domenech, Keane

Shannon Eaton, General Electric

Leslie Harris, Stifel

Kimberly Hines, Genworth

Tara Horner, Ryan, LLC

Adria Hunt, Altus Group

Vince Infante, Eaton

Kenneth Johnson, Keane

Kulsoom Kamruddin, Ryan LLC

Kim King, Markel

Vijay Kumar, Amazon.com Inc.

Nancy Lambertson, ExTex Division Order Services LLC

Annie Lee, Crowe LLP

David Li, Ryan LLC

Ann Loperfito, PNC Bank NA

Michelle Marchand, TD Bank

Susan Maul, CommScope Inc

Jared McDonald, USAA

Caitlin McFarlane, Keane

Alice Moore, General Electric

Jesus Moreno, Caesars Entertainment

Rachel Parkes, Hilltop Securities

Chris Pihir, DuCharme, McMillen & Associates Inc.

Ryan Punke, MetaBank

Amarnath Ramapurath, Amazon.com, Inc

Dawn Roath, ALLIANZ LIFE INSURANCE

Ivon Rodriguez, South Florida Educational FCU

Kristi Rogers, Copart Inc.

Thomas Sabrey, E*Trade Financial

Allison Scott, Cigna

Liz Seukep, Markel Corporation

Rachael Seydel, ArcelorMittal

Jason Stubitz, Crowe

Rosie Trevino, USAA

Anthony Vitellozzi, Laurel Hill Advisory Group

Londa Weninger, MDU Resources Group

Ashley Winalski, Voya Financial

 

 

Intermediate Tier Certificate Recipients

Alex Baker, Genworth

LouAnn Carnahan, PlainsCapital Bank

Rachel DeWein, Franklin Templeton Investments

Paula Farlin, Universal Ins Company of North America

JoAnn Gagnier, UnitedHealth Group

Tom Huffman, CIBC Bank US

Kevin Hunter, Altus Group

Corey Jones, Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools

Cherie Julius, Uline

Ashley Knight, Altus Group US Inc.

Lila Ly, Telephone and Data Systems Inc.

Andrew Perrine, Financial Software Innovations, Inc

Brenda Russell, Verizon

Maxim Rutherford, Altus Group

Tiffany Suits, Brinker International

Laura Tellez, USAA

Susan Vance, Altus Group US Inc

Dhanya Variar, ABB Inc

Christine Wiener, The Walt Disney Company

Dimitar Yossifov, CSAA Insurance Group

 

 

Tags:  certificate program  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (2)
 
Page 1 of 77
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >| 
Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal