Oklahoma Lawsuit Alleges Ponzi Scheme

Photo by smokedsalmon on FreeDigitalPhotos.netUpdate September 28, 2015: An Oklahoma judge has rejected the claims filed by attorney Jerry Fent, alleging that the Oklahoma unclaimed property fund is a ponzi scheme. Fent has said that he plans to appeal the decisions.

Oklahoma attorney Jerry Fent has filed a lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court alleging that the state is in effect operating a Ponzi scheme as it commonly uses unclaimed property funds for government operations. Attorney Fent is an activist, with Oklahoma cases challenging the oil and gas tax law, state pension board, capitol bonds, and the state budget.

The 2015 Oklahoma budget process was made difficult by a $611 million shortfall. Although the state enacted several budget cuts, some of the shortfall was made up by using money from the state's rainy day, unclaimed property and other revolving funds. The state took $50 million from the Unclaimed Property Fund.

You can search for Oklahoma unclaimed property at the Oklahoma State Treasurer's website.

Other State Lawsuits

Other states have been sued over their unclaimed property programs. A Minnesota lawsuit alleges that the state is not doing enough to notify owners and reuniting the property with its owner. This was a similar complaint by the long-running California case that resulted in a temporary shut-down of the California unclaimed property program while the two report system was implemented. Florida was recently the target of criticism by a state appellate court after the unclaimed property program denied a claim by a judgment creditor for unpaid child support.

Delaware has also been the target of many recent lawsuits by corporate holders. Plains All American Pipeline recently filed suit, challenging the state's audit selection and audit management process. A 2014 case by Temple Inland has recently passed the first hurdle, surviving the state's motion to dismiss the case. Temple Inland is challenging the state's extrapolation methodology. Meanwhile, Osram Sylvania is challenging the retroactive enforcement of record retention requirements, in addition to the extrapolation.

See Also:
State Treasurers Waiting on ULC Uniform Act
Delaware Task Force Sends Recommendations to Legislature
Audit Defense Starts with Compliance