Rutledge: More states join Arkansas lawsuit against MoneyGram

Rutledge: More states join Arkansas lawsuit against MoneyGram

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has notified the U.S. Supreme Court that attorneys general from the states of California, Iowa, Maryland, Oregon, Washington and the Commonwealth of Virginia have informed Arkansas that they desire to join the complaint against Delaware.

The state of Arkansas is owed over $850,000 in unclaimed "official checks" as part of a multi-state lawsuit against MoneyGram, Rutledge said in the announcement Wednesday.

With these additions, 27 states will be part of the complaint led by Arkansas and Texas that is seeking to reclaim approximately $200 million that belongs to the sister states of Delaware under the federal Disposition of Abandoned Money Orders and Traveler's Checks Act. The ultimate dollar figure that Delaware owes other states may be much higher. 
"I am pleased that several more states are electing to join this growing coalition that is seeking to claim monies that do not lawfully belong to Delaware," Rutledge said. "This is a strong case, and I am hopeful the U.S. Supreme Court will take it and let this bipartisan group reclaim money that is properly owed to the taxpayers." 
The dispute between the plaintiff states and Delaware is about which state is entitled to abandoned and unclaimed "official checks" sold by MoneyGram, a money transfer service company that operates in all 50 states and internationally.

With Delaware's acquiescence, guidance and direction, millions of dollars in unclaimed "official checks" have been wrongfully escheated, or turned over, to Delaware, Rutledge said.

The error was based on the belief that such abandoned and unclaimed property is supposed to be turned over to the issuing company's state of incorporation, in this case, Delaware. However, Rutledge said federal law and the law in each of the plaintiff states is clear that such abandoned and unclaimed property should be turned over to the state where the property was purchased.   
The coalition is asking the Supreme Court to declare that the plaintiff states, and not Delaware, are entitled to the hundreds of millions of dollars improperly turned over to Delaware and to all future similar abandoned and unclaimed property.

The coalition is also asking the Court to order the appropriate repayment to plaintiff states by Delaware. 
On Feb. 10, 2015, an independent auditor completed an examination of abandoned "official checks" from MoneyGram in a select group of states and concluded that nearly $200 million was owed to those states.

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