Kansans who purchased certain financial instruments from MoneyGram that were never cashed will soon be able to claim those through the Kansas unclaimed property program, following a ruling this week by the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to the Kansas State Treasurers Office, in a unanimous opinion issued today by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Court found that “Agent Checks” and “Teller’s Checks” issued by MoneyGram fall under the federal Disposition of Abandoned Money Orders and Traveler’s Checks Act, and when left unclaimed must be remitted to the unclaimed property systems of the state in which they are purchased. MoneyGram and the State of Delaware had argued that these instruments did not fall under that act, and the company had been remitting the unclaimed payments to the State of Delaware, where it is incorporated.
“This ruling is a win for Kansans whose unclaimed checks were being improperly held in the Delaware unclaimed property system,” Kansas State Treasurer Steven Johnson said. “We will work to ensure this unclaimed property is promptly transferred to the State of Kansas and begin the work of returning that money to Kansans.”
Kansas was one of more than 20 states that filed the original action case against the State of Delaware in 2016 seeking the return of the funds. The case was originally filed by former Attorney General Derek Schmidt with the support of former State Treasurer Ron Estes. The attorney general’s office represented Kansas in the briefing on the case.
“This is a win for Kansans in two ways,” Kansas Solicitor General Anthony Powell said. “First, it vindicates the state treasurer’s unclaimed property program. And more importantly, it makes it easier for Kansans to claim their money in certain instances.”
A 2016 estimate determined that Delaware was holding more than $1.78 million in uncashed MoneyGram checks that were purchased in Kansas. The Court has ordered the case back to a Special Master to implement its ruling, including determining the exact amounts owed to each state.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion is available at https://bit.ly/3IXJvkP.