The U.S. Department of the Treasury has informed state Auditor Andrea Lea
that Arkansas cannot claim title to mature U.S. savings bonds the state claims are "abandoned."
Arkansas is one of 18 states attempting to claim bonds issued to people whose last known address was Arkansas but have not redeemed the bonds five years past their maturity date.These "absent bonds" are distinct from savings bonds that, unclaimed, have come into the possession of the state auditor. Apparently there are some $17 billion in "absent bonds" nationwide; Arkansas's share has been estimated at $160 million.
A letter from Dara Seaman
, an assistant commissioner in Treasury, said the state could not lay claim to the bonds either under Treasury's prior regulations or the regulations as amended; the amended regulations govern when Treasury can consider a state's claim to savings bonds.
This is the letter from Treasury to Lea.
Washington County Circuit Judge Beth Storey Bryan ruled
in November in favor of Lea's claim that all U.S. savings bonds unclaimed by owners who were originally listed as Arkansans residents were now the property of the state of Arkansas. Lea had previously filed suit in Pulaski County, but withdrew that suit after Judge Alice Gray said the state had not properly framed the lawsuit.
This is the letter from Lea to Treasury, mailed last November.