The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Agency" means the Department of the Treasury.
"Escheator" means any individual who has been appointed and qualified, and who continues in service in accordance with §§
55-168 through 55-170 55.1-2401, 55.1-2402, and 55.1-2403 of the Code of Virginia. These regulations are promulgated pursuant to the authority set forth in § 55-200.1 55.1-2439 of the Code of Virginia which requires the State Treasurer to adopt any necessary rules and regulations in accordance with the Administrative Process Act to carry out the provisions of the Escheat Generally Statutes Escheats, Chapter 10 24 (§ 55-168 55.1-2400 et seq.) of Title 55 55.1 of the Code of Virginia. (Repealed.) This chapter shall be effective on and after July 1, 1992 (Repealed.)
An Annual Escheat Report shall be submitted by each local government treasurer, director of finance, or other designated local government official to the appointed escheator for that locality and to the agency by May 31 of each year for the calendar year just ended. This report is required even if there are no real property parcels to be reported. The report shall be prepared on the appropriate form, or in an approved format, and shall be submitted on either hard copy or an acceptable diskette in a file layout and format approved by the agency. The report shall be certified as to its accuracy by the commissioner of revenue or designated local official prior to the May 31 submission date.
The local government treasurer, director of finance, or other designated local government official shall include in the Annual Escheat Report all real properties pursuant to §
55-171 55.1-2404 of the Code of Virginia.
Escheators shall be required to file a report with the agency by March 1 of each year, for the calendar year just ended, summarizing escheat activity for that period. The required report shall include, but not be limited to, (i) information about any litigation occurring during the period and the status of such litigation, (ii) the status of any collection proceedings, (iii) the status of any real estate parcels removed from the escheat process subsequent to an inquest, (iv) the status of any other real estate parcels under the escheator's control, and (v) any other information which should be brought to the agency's attention that the escheator deems to be relevant to the escheat process. The escheator shall provide, upon written request from the agency, any additional data relating to this report within 30 days of such request.
Each escheator shall give bond for the judicial circuit for which he is appointed in the circuit court for the locality in which he resides. The bond in the amount of $3,000
must shall be obtained within 60 days of confirmation of the appointment and a copy of such bond should be provided to the Treasurer of Virginia State Treasurer. This bond shall remain in force as long as the escheator shall continue in office until removed or until a successor is duly appointed and qualified.
If property in another locality within the judicial circuit escheats to the Commonwealth at the inquest hearing, the escheator shall give additional bond pursuant to the requirements in §
55-169 55.1-2402 of the Code of Virginia.
The escheator shall be responsible for the collection of all moneys during the escheat process. Any and all moneys collected during the escheat process shall be deposited into the bank account of the escheator no later than the next banking day following the collection date. A check for the full amount collected shall be drawn on this account and made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia no later than 10 banking days following the deposit date. The escheator shall submit the check and complete columns 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Annual Escheat Report Form received from the local treasurer or submit other supporting documentation for funds collected other than sale proceeds.
The escheator shall be responsible for the collection of any checks relative to the escheat process returned by the bank to the escheator's bank account for insufficient funds or any other reason which makes a check uncollectible. The escheator shall institute procedures for collection of these moneys immediately upon notification from the bank that a check has been returned uncollected. The procedures shall include, but not be limited to, a written notice to the maker of the returned check advising the maker that payment, with certified funds or cash, be made within five business days of the correspondence date. In regard to a sale transaction, the notice shall state that failure to comply may result in (i) the forfeiture of any deposit and the resale of escheated property pursuant to §
55-187 55.1-2425 of the Code of Virginia, (ii) a suit to enforce specific performance of the sale agreement, (iii) resale of the property and suit for any damages resulting from default by the purchaser, or (iv) any other remedy at law or in equity available to a seller against a defaulting purchaser of real estate.
If a sale of escheated property is not consummated for any reason constituting a default by the purchaser pursuant to §
55-187 55.1-2425 of the Code of Virginia, the escheator shall notify the purchaser in writing that the purchaser's default may result in (i) the forfeiture of any deposit and the resale of the escheated property at the next sale of escheated property for that locality, (ii) a suit to enforce specific performance of the sale agreement, (iii) resale of the property and a suit for any damages resulting from the subsequent sale at a lesser purchase price, (iv) any other remedy at law or in equity available to a seller against a defaulting purchaser of real estate, and (v) cash or a certified check being required from the purchaser for any future transaction involving the purchase of escheated property. The notification shall also inform the purchaser of the right to have an administrative review of actions taken by the escheator or the agency. Before an escheator may bring a suit against a defaulting purchaser, express authority to do so in each case shall be obtained from the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia and approval of anticipated expenses of litigation shall be obtained from the agency.
The escheator shall provide written information to any and all individuals who register as a bidder for an escheat sale that the grant for the escheated property will be issued in accordance with §
55-186.1 55.1-2422 of the Code of Virginia and that this statutory form of grant contains no warranty of title. In addition, the written information shall instruct any and all bidders seeking a recovery of proceeds from a sale of escheated property that the recovery of proceeds of each sale from the Commonwealth, less the expenses of sale and the escheator's fee, may be obtained if the buyer, pursuant to § 55-200 55.1-2438 of the Code of Virginia, submits satisfactory evidence to the State Treasurer within 120 days of the sale that the escheated property does not exist or was improperly escheated.
The commissions paid to the escheator (10%) and the auctioneer (5.0%) are determined based on the proceeds collected from the sales of escheated property. If a partial payment is collected and the purchaser fails to complete the sales transaction, the purchaser forfeits the partial payment to the State Treasurer and the commissions paid shall be based on the partial payment only. The commissions base does not include recording fees. Reimbursable expenses of the escheator and auctioneer are in addition to the commissions paid.
The auctioneer shall submit an expense report with supporting documentation to the State Treasurer within 30 days of the auction to ensure proper reimbursement of the auction expenses pursuant to §
55-186 55.1-2421 of the Code of Virginia. Reimbursable expenses shall include: advertisements, postage, payroll, and any other expenses directly related to the auction, but in no case shall the expense reimbursement exceed 5.0% of the proceeds collected. Proceeds do not include recording fees.
Fees shall be computed on all requests for information under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Chapter
21 37 (§ 2.1-340 2.2-3700 et seq.) of Title 2.1 2.2 of the Code of Virginia, related to the escheat process. The fee assessed shall be determined based on the actual time of the employee performing the duties necessary to comply with the request and other costs incurred. Other costs include copies, postage, and any other cost directly associated with providing the requested information.
If there is an amount due the agency and it is in excess of 30 days past due, current and future requests for information will be withheld until the outstanding amount is paid to the agency. Continued failure to pay fees when due may result in the agency requesting payment in advance.
Annual Escheat Report, #ESH-1 (3/93).