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News 6 gets results helps inform family of a $2,300 unclaimed check

List is available on Orange County Clerk of Courts website

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Almost $300,000 in unclaimed checks is currently sitting at the Orange County Clerk of Courts office. 

According to their website, each year the Clerk’s Office provides a list of people who have unclaimed checks issued by the Clerk’s Office in the course of court-related activities. And if a claim is not made against these funds by Sept. 1, the funds will be forfeited.

News 6 checked and discovered thousands of people and places are owed anywhere from a couple of bucks to thousands of dollars that they don't even know is waiting to be claimed. New 6 investigator Adrianna Iwasinski tracked down one couple who was owed a lot.

"I feel like it's Christmas in July," said Merlynne Chandler who discovered she had an unclaimed check for $2,368.01.

Chandler, who is 72 years old, lives in Polk County now.

But she used to live in Orange County a few years back. She had no idea a check for restitution had been sent to her old address back in 2015.

“I’m just so happy that you found it,” said Chandler. “And I really appreciate it because I just wouldn’t have known about it.”

Turns out Merlynne and her husband had some jewelry taken by one of their grandchildren’s friends back in 2012.
The young man was caught and convicted and served his sentence. And with that came paying court costs, fines and restitution.

“I got a check for $21 while back but then I kind of just wrote it off that I’d never see the rest.”

So when News 6 started doing some digging on Merlynne's case, we discovered the amount listed under her name was the amount of the restitution owed to her and her husband for the stolen jewelry.

“I don’t mind being on that list,” said Chandler. “I really, really appreciate this -- all your hard work has made me happy, happy, happy!”

She says the money could not have come at a better time since her husband recently lost his job and they were worried about how they were going to pay the bills. The Chandlers also plan to use the money to go visit her great-grandchild in Alabama who is due in August.

“I'm just so happy that you found it, because well I just wouldn't of known about it,” said Merlynne Chandler.

The list is printed once a year and is available on the court clerks website, so you can see if you are owed any money.

And you have until Sept.1st to claim this money. After that it will be forfeited and forwarded to the state of Florida to be held in a fund. We will have more on this on Monday, including a couple of nonprofits who are owed a lot of money.