Treasurer & Attorney General fighting to get $850 million in matured savings bonds back to Pennsylvanians
Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella and Attorney General Josh Shapiro jointly filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in an appeal of LaTurner v. United States. This case is an appeal from the decision of the D.C. Court of Appeals to uphold the position of the U.S. Treasury Department that effectively undermines state unclaimed property laws designed to reunite over 62 million matured and unredeemed U.S. savings bonds with their owners. For decades, the U.S. Treasury Department has actively opposed and blocked state efforts to reclaim these funds on behalf of their citizens, keeping billions of dollars in matured and unredeemed bonds proceeds owed to American citizens.
These savings bonds had long maturity periods, lasting 15, 20 and 30 years. With such long maturity dates, many bonds records have subsequently been lost or forgotten and their original owners have deceased. Consequently, there are approximately $850 million in matured yet unredeemed U.S. savings bonds that were purchased by and owed to Pennsylvania residents and their beneficiaries.
“It is both wrong and repugnant to any sense of fair dealing for the U.S. government to encourage citizens to buy savings bonds for patriotic reasons, yet sit on the proceeds for decades without making any effort to return to the owners. I sincerely appreciate Attorney General Shapiro’s support and advocacy before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Pennsylvania savings bond owners. They deserve their money, and they need it now more than ever."
Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Joe Torsella
The U.S. Treasury Department makes no effort to inform owners that their bonds have matured or contact owners who have not redeemed their bonds – resulting in millions of matured bond proceeds being left unclaimed for decades. By turning the possession of these matured bonds over to states, the bonds can be returned to their rightful owners through well-established unclaimed property programs.
“Treasury Bonds belong to those who purchased them, plain and simple, and the Commonwealth plays an important role in helping our citizens reclaim what is theirs. I appreciate Treasurer Torsella’s efforts on this front, and look forward to updating the U.S. bond system and helping to return $850 million in unredeemed bonds back to Pennsylvanians.”
Attorney General, Josh Shapiro
Today’s filing is the latest development in a 10-year effort by the Pennsylvania Treasury to recover these funds from the federal government and reunite the proceeds with their owners. In 2016, the state legislature enacted legislation empowering the State Treasurer to obtain possession of the matured and unredeemed U.S. savings bonds from the federal government to permit the right of the bond holders to be reunited with their bond proceeds.
Additionally, there is legislation pending in Congress that would direct the U.S. Treasury Department to immediately return these funds to each state’s unclaimed property administrator.