State Treasurer Lynn Fitch Credit: Treasurer's Office

Mississippians could be in line receive more than $150 million.

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch sat in on a hearing this week at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims over unclaimed savings bonds. The outcome could mean a big payday for citizens in Mississippi and other states.

“The federal government has been holding on to $20 billion of citizen money in the form of unredeemed U.S. Savings Bonds … (and) they’ve demonstrated no interest in finding the bonds’ owners to pay them back,” Fitch said in a news release.

Mississippi sued in 2016 to release the bonds, totaling an estimated $155 million, to the state.

After filing a lawsuit in 2013, Kansas prevailed in getting back $862,000 worth of abandoned U.S. savings bonds and sought more, but that case is ongoing. A federal judge put Mississippi’s case on hold to await the outcome of the Kansas case.

In 2016, Florida sued the U.S. Treasury Department over approximately $1 billion in unredeemed bonds.

The Arkansas Legislature passed a law in 2015 that would empower state officials to seek titles to unclaimed savings bonds.

Fitch said her office is prepared to distribute those bonds like other unclaimed property. She said her office has returned $64 million to citizens since 2012.

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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.