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Thousands of dollars from foreclosed homes sits unclaimed

11:18 PM, Mar 7, 2011   |    comments
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"I can't stop smiling or laughing 'cause I don't know anybody something like this has ever happened to," she said.

"My life has been hell for eight years now," she said. "These things don't happen to me!"

In the last eight years, Kasson's husband, a police officer, was paralyzed in a crash when his motorcycle was hit by a drunk driver. He and her mother died in 2008. Kasson's father died in 2006.

Recently, Kasson, who is living on the survivor's pension of $1,200 per month after she pays health insurance, got a bill from the IRS for $8,000.

"I've run out of money," she said.

So when Denver Post reporter David Migoya called Kasson Friday telling her the Arapahoe County Public Trustee's office had $42,000 for her, Kasson didn't believe it.

"Feels like I've won the lottery," Kasson said. "I keep telling my friends and my niece: I can't believe this. I went to the County Treasurer's Office and was given a check for $42,156."

Kasson got what is called overbid money.

After foreclosed properties are sold at auction, the banks are paid as well as any lien-holders, money is sometimes left over. The county trustees are supposed to give it back to the former owners or their heirs.

Kasson's father died and his home was foreclosed on. The $42,000 is what's left from that sale.

Ana Maria Peters-Ruddick is the Arapahoe County Public Trustee. Her office has a list of people who are owed money after their home was foreclosed on and auctioned.

She says half the time they can find who to give the money to, but the other half lives on a list.

"It's just basically searching on Google and things like that trying to locate somebody," she said. "We don't have the resources to be able to do extensive searches for people."

The trustee's office sends letters to people, but most often they to go the foreclosed address. They also publish in the local paper.

The money is eventually transferred to the County Treasurer's Office where it's kept for five years. If it's unclaimed, it eventually goes into the county's general fund.

The Denver Post and Migoya found dozens of homeowners in Denver, Adams and Arapahoe Counties who are collectively owed more than $650,000 since 2008.

Kasson says she can't believe the timing. She will now be able to pay off the IRS and maybe even take a cruise.

"Unreal," she said. "I'm still stunned."

For more on the story, look in Tuesday's Denver Post.

Click here for more on Denver's overbid properties.

Click here for more on Arapahoe County's overbid properties.

Click here for more on Adams County's overbid properties.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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