'GMA' Staff Catches Unclaimed Money Fever

Elisabeth Leamy shows you how easy it could be to find cash that is owed to you.

ByABC News via logo
August 25, 2011, 11:04 AM

Aug. 25, 2011— -- Roughly one in 10 people have unclaimed money waiting out there for them -- in forgotten apartment security deposits, uncashed overtime checks, lost insurance refunds and more -- yet so few search for it.

We've helped hundreds of people cash in and find their unclaimed money in our "Good Morning America" series, "Show Me the Money."

To prove that if you spend just 10 minutes searching, you too could cash in, we searched the names of 286 staffers who work in our "Good Morning America" studio and offices.

From our anchors to producers and crew who work behind-the-scenes, we searched them all. At times, we had to be a bit of a sleuth to get the information we needed to identify people.

We also enlisted the help of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and his team, who handle weighty matters like state paychecks and pensions but also do their own version of a prize patrol.

"We have a broad mission and an important task and a very dedicated group of employees, and the happiest ones are those who work in unclaimed funds because they get to give people money back," DiNapoli said. "That always puts a smile on everyone's face."

The state of New York currently holds a remarkable $11 billion in unclaimed funds. That's more than any other single state.

Attention New Yorkers: Conduct your own unclaimed money search online by clicking here!

After our investigative work and online searching, we found that Robin Roberts had money from her old cable company. Robin's make-up artist, Elena George, had some money waiting too.

"GMA" weekend co-anchor Bianna Golodryga had cash from her college days, and "GMA" news anchor Josh Elliott had forgotten funds in his name from his days at ESPN. The state of California is holding lost paychecks for our special contributor and "DWTS" alum Cameron Mathison.

There were three Diane Sawyers we found who were owed money, and one of them was our "World News" anchor. Emeril Lagasse, one of our favorite chefs who surprises moms with Breakfast in Bed, is in for an unclaimed-money surprise of his own.

"GMA" weather anchor Sam Champion has money to collect from his cellphone company. Sam's producer, Darcy Bonfils, and other behind-the-scenes staffers came into some cash too.

All in all, we searched 286 names and found money for 24 people on our staff. That's 12 percent – slightly above the average. We also searched under "Good Morning America" and "ABC News" and found several unclaimed money accounts in New York state.

The grand total: $43,726. To contribute to our series, "Hunger at Home: Crisis in America," ABC News will donate this found money to help families in need.

Now, it's your turn to cash in! The 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently holding at least $32 billion in unclaimed funds, just waiting to be reunited with the rightful owners. There are simple searches you can do in 10 minutes or less. Plus we've uncovered more unusual sources of unclaimed cash that few people know about.

Click HERE for 10 ways to find your unclaimed cash!