Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mining the First 3.5 Million California Unclaimed Property Records

As I mentioned in my previous article the state of California has over $6 billion in assets listed in its unclaimed property databaseThe search interface that California provides is really too simplistic for this type of search, as misspelled names and addresses are both common and no doubt responsible for some of these assets going unclaimed. There is an alternative, however - scrape the entire database and mine it at your leisure using any tools you want.

Here's a basic little scraper written in Ruby.

It's a slow process, but I've managed to pull about 10% of the full database in the past 24 hours (3.5 million out of about 36 million).

What does the distribution of these unclaimed assets look like? 

Among those with non-zero cash reported amounts:
  • Total value - $511 million
  • Median value - $15
  • Mean value - $157
  • 90th percentile - $182
  • 95th percentile - $398
  • 98th percentile - $1,000
  • 99th percentile - $1,937
  • 99.9th percentile - $14,203
  • 99.99th percentile - $96,478
Visually, it looks like this:

  • 548309 have value >= $100
  • 67452 have value >= $1,000
  • 4954 have value >= $10,000
  • 304 have have value >= $100,000
  • 4 have value >= $1,000,000
  • The largest value was $8,050,000
The top 10 by value:
  1. $8,050,000 to Jasmine Holdco. Entered as Hold Co. Sent CEO Alexander Slusky a note on LinkedIn.
  2. $2,183,062 to someone associated with Procket Networks. Procket was bought by Cisco. Sent former Procket CFO Curtis Mason a note on LinkedIn.
  3. $1,669,561 to Wyle Systems. Address and city misspelled. Sent email to Wyle, was told this money belongs to Wyle Electronics, which in turn was purchased by Arrow Electronics.
  4. $1,419,929 to Anne Baronia. Appears to have moved. Sent her notes on Facebook and LinkedIn.
  5. $777,856 to Citi Residential Lending. Premium refund.
  6. $639,000 to Martin Peter Wright. Funds for liquidation.
  7. $611,460 to Jeanne and Melvin Hing. Mature CD or savings certificate.
  8. $520,761 to Loretta Nisewander. Checking account.
  9. $507,077 to Payroll (no address). Now you know what to name your next kid. "This here's my son Payroll, and this one's my daughter Unknown".
  10. $450,000 Joseph Mallon. Funds for liquidation.
People who should be easy to contact:
  1. $58,946 to Ehren Maedge. COO of Scale Computing, Foundation Capital.
  2. $408,105 and $94,001 to Dane Prenovitz. Director of the Dani Investment Collection, appears to go by DJ Dane Mitchell now.
  3. $322,826 to the Hearts Afire Foundation.
  4. $160,825 to the Vernon Otto Wahrenbrock Trust. Wahrenbrock's was the biggest used bookstore here in San Diego - it was very sad when Vernon passed away and Wahrenbrock's closed. His grandson, Craig Maxwell, owns a bookstore in La Mesa.
  5. $10 to OJ Simpson from NetZero.


  1. Brilliant.

    Congratulations on a job well done.

    It's great to see this kind of work in action.

  2. This is great. Thanks - I'm owed money!

    Are you going to put the database up there with a nicer front end when you're done?

  3. You sent them notes like that, i imagine:

    Good Day Beneficiary,

    We hope this message finds you in good health and condition. We are glad to inform you that your name emerged the sum of 8,050,000.00 United State Dollars from the State of California...

    1. An exiled Austrian Prince, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has bequeathed you with many, many monies. Please remit $10 so we may send you these monies.

  4. It's insane that so much money is just sitting around unclaimed. This is an extremely interesting undertaking you've gotten yourself into.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Hey do you still have the Ruby scraper? Can I get it?

    1. My code is on GitHub at

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    California Property Records

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      California Property Records