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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2007
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They're coming to claim money
Morgan clerk may issue first checks next week to residents owed payments

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

"I've come to get my money."

That's what Morgan County Circuit Clerk John Pat Orr said he has heard from people who showed up to claim money he has been holding more than five years.

The money is from checks that Orr issued in various cases involving such things as restitution and child support.

The Daily in Sunday's edition ran a list of 259 people and businesses to which the money belongs.

"They kept us busy Monday," Orr said of the people coming by or calling his office. "We had to get their addresses and phone numbers and, of course, none of the addresses was the same. Some people showed up whose names were not on the list."

Orr said incorrect addresses are the main reason most of the recipients did not receive the checks he sent them more than five years ago. The checks ranged from a penny to $1,625. He said a lot of people who got checks that amounted only to cents probably didn't cash them.

Currently, Orr is preparing to re-issue 15 checks.

"I haven't issued any yet because we've got to do paperwork and enter it into the computer," Orr said. "I expect we'll start issuing them early next week."

One recipient is Morgan District Court Judge Shelly Waters, whose office is in the courthouse.

Orr said the list is in the computer, therefore, no one realized Waters was on the list.

"Naturally there are some that when you look at the list, it's an oversight because of who they are and where they are," said Orr.

By law, Orr may keep the money up to five years. The money for the 259 people and businesses like Wal-Mart has been in his possession for more than five years, according to a state audit of his office. If he cannot disburse it, the money goes to the County Commission office where it will remain seven years. During that period people may claim the money, but after that, it goes into the county General Fund, Orr explained.

In addition to $11,500 owed to the people on the list that ran in The Daily, Orr has more than $200,000 that he has had less than five years for about 1,050 people and businesses. He said his office is trying to contact those individuals and businesses as well.

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