(a) Escheat Account. - All funds received by the Treasurer as escheated or abandoned property and which were transferred prior to January 1, 1980, to the trust fund created under G.S. 116-209 shall remain in that trust fund and shall be placed in a special fund, designated the "Escheat Account."
(b) Investment and Transfer of Assets; Income. - The Treasurer is the trustee of the Escheat Account and has full power to invest and reinvest the assets of the Escheat Account and the Escheat Fund. Subject to the Treasurer's withholding an amount necessary to accomplish the Treasurer's duties as set out in this Chapter, including subsections (e), (f) and (g) of this section, the Treasurer shall transfer, at least annually, to the Escheat Account all moneys then in the Treasurer's custody received as, or derived from the disposition of, escheated and abandoned property and shall disburse to the State Education Assistance Authority, as provided in G.S. 116B-7, the income derived from the investment of the Escheat Account and the Escheat Fund. All moneys transferred to the Escheat Account under this section shall be accounted for and administered separately from other assets and money in the trust fund created under G.S. 116-209.
(c) Security Interest in Escheat Account. - The State Education Assistance Authority, in addition to other powers vested under G.S. 116-201 to G.S. 116-209.23, inclusive, is authorized to pledge and vest a security interest in all or any part of the Escheat Account, by resolution adopted or trust agreement approved by it, as security for or insurance respecting the payment of bonds or other obligations, as defined in G.S. 116-201, including principal, interest and redemption premium, if any; provided, that such pledge and security interest in the Escheat Account shall, in the determination of the Authority, constitute a use of the Escheat Fund to aid worthy and needy students who are residents of this State and are enrolled in public institutions of higher education in this State. The Authority may submit to the Treasurer, from time to time as it deems necessary, requisitions for transfers of money in the Escheat Account to pay such bonds and other obligations to the extent necessary under such pledge of, or security interest in, the Escheat Account, or any part thereof, and the Treasurer is authorized and directed to pay such money so requisitioned to the Authority for such purposes.
(d) Limitation on Amount of Obligations Secured. - The principal amount of bonds and other obligations insured or secured by the Escheat Account shall not exceed 10 times the amount held for the credit of the Escheat Account, as certified from time to time by the Treasurer, and, in no event, shall exceed three hundred fifty million dollars ($350,000,000). If the amount held for the credit of the Escheat Account, as certified by the Treasurer, shall be ten percent (10%) or less of the principal amount of the bonds and other obligations so insured or secured, the Authority shall not issue any additional bonds or cause additional obligations to be insured or secured by the Escheat Account until such time as the amount held for the credit of the Escheat Account exceeds ten percent (10%) of the principal amount of the bonds and other obligations secured or insured by the Escheat Account.
(e) Use of Excess Funds. - If the amount held for the credit of the Escheat Account at any time shall exceed the sum of thirty-five million dollars ($35,000,000), such excess may be used by the State Education Assistance Authority, with the written approval of the Treasurer, for the purpose of either (i) making student loans or (ii) refunding outstanding bonds or other obligations issued by the Authority and secured by a pledge of, or a security interest in, the Escheat Account. Any excess so used shall be repaid by the Authority to the Escheat Account in the manner agreed between the Authority and the Treasurer.
(f) Refund Reserve. - The Treasurer shall retain in the Escheat Fund, as a permanent refund reserve, either the sum of five million dollars ($5,000,000) or a sum equal to the total value of escheated or abandoned property received in the preceding fiscal year, whichever is greater, for the purpose of payment of refunds of escheated or abandoned property to persons entitled thereto.
(g) Additional Funds for Refunds. - If at any time the amount of the refund reserve shall be insufficient to make refunds required to be made, the Treasurer, in addition, may use all current receipts derived from escheated or abandoned property, exclusive of earnings and profits on investments of the Escheat Fund and the Escheat Account, for the purpose of making such refunds; and if all such funds shall be inadequate for such refunds, the Treasurer may apply to the Council of State, pursuant to the Executive Budget Act, to the limit of funds available from the Contingency and Emergency Fund, for a loan, without interest, to supply any deficiencies, in whole or in part. No receipts derived from escheated or abandoned property, other than earnings or profits on investments, shall be paid to the Authority until: (i) all valid claims for refund have been paid; (ii) the reserve for refund shall equal five million dollars ($5,000,000); and (iii) the amount loaned from the Contingency and Emergency Fund shall have been repaid by the Escheat Fund.
(h) Expenditures. - The Treasurer may expend the funds in the Escheat Fund, other than funds in the Escheat Account, for the payment of claims for refunds to owners, holders and claimants under G.S. 116B-4; for the payment of costs of maintenance and upkeep of abandoned or escheated property; costs of preparing lists of names of owners of abandoned property to be furnished to clerks of superior court; costs of notice and publication; costs of appraisals; fees of persons employed pursuant to G.S. 116B-8 costs involved in determining whether a decedent died without heirs; fees of persons employed pursuant to G.S. 116B-8 to conduct audits; costs of a title search of real property that has escheated; and costs of auction or sale under this Chapter. All other costs, including salaries of personnel, necessary to carry out the duties of the Treasurer under this Chapter, shall be appropriated from the funds of the Escheat Fund pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 143 of the General Statutes.
(i) Records. - The State Treasurer must maintain the records it receives from holders who report unclaimed property in accordance with G.S. 116B-60. To protect the privacy of the owners of unclaimed property, the information that may be subject to public inspection will be limited to the information the State Treasurer is required to annually submit to the clerks of superior court in accordance with G.S. 116B-62.
(j) Data Sharing. - On or before February 1 of each year, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, the North Carolina Department of Revenue, and the Division of Employment Security (DES) of the North Carolina Department of Commerce shall provide to the Treasurer, for the Treasurer's confidential use, information to facilitate locating owners of unclaimed property. The Treasurer may not use any information obtained pursuant to this section for any purpose except for locating owners of unclaimed property. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1; 1999-460, ss. 3(b), 4(a), (b); 2011-230, s. 1; 2011-401, s. 5.1; 2012-152, s. 3.1; 2012-194, s. 61.5(b); 2013-281, s. 1.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014