Clayton County hopes to find lost money

By Ed Brock

Somebody somewhere apparently owes the Clayton County Drug Task Force over $16,000.

Earlier this month a Boston-based company called Locator Services Group, Inc. contacted the county to inform them that they had found $16,355.92 belonging to the task force and for a finder's fee they would tell the county how to get the money, County Attorney Don Comer said. Comer brought the issue before the county's board of commissioners during a work session Tuesday morning, telling them that if they agree to the company's terms then Locator Services Group would get 25 percent of the money if it is recovered.

"I'd be willing to pay 25 percent. We're going to fire somebody if they lost $16,000," Commission Chairman Crandle Bray quipped.

Comer said he's spoken with members of the task force, an agency that draws members from the county's sheriff's office, police department and district attorney's office, and nobody can say who would owe them money.

"We have no idea what this can be, but we're going to find out," Comer said.

Task force head Clarence Cox said he would be happy to take the money and they are still trying to determine from where it is coming.

Locator Services Group has been in business for 10 years, spokeswoman Kim Sawyer said. Their regular clients include businesses, government entities and individuals for whom they analyze their corporate structure in order to find money that might be owed to them and they then assist in recovering the money.

On occasion while assisting one client they come upon money that is owed to another party, and that is what occurred in this case, Sawyer said. They then contact that other party and offer their services to that party.

Sometimes the mere mention of money being owed jogs the party's memory and they seek to collect the money on their own, Sawyer said. But in many cases, particularly those that deal with corporations and government entities, collecting the money can mean filling out a lot of paperwork and sometimes requires an attorney.

The money can be lost do to a postal error, or could be connected to a merger, acquisition or the dissolution of a company.

Locator Services Group takes care of all that and, though they are successful 95 percent of the time in collecting the money, if they fail to do so they absorb the cost and do not collect their fee, Sawyer said.

"If they don't get paid, we don't get paid," Sawyer said.

Sawyer said that after the county sends in the proper documents and authorization signed by Bray, they will send back a secondary document that discloses what the money is and that document is then sent to the agency that has the money. From that point, Sawyer said, it can take around 60 days to recover the money.