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1999-3 Unclaimed Stolen Property Sheriff Sale, Act 54 of 1960

March 4, 1999

To:   County Treasurers, County Board of Commissioners and County Sheriff

From:   Richard Baldermann, CPA, CGFM
            Administrator, Local Audit and Finance Division

RE:   Sheriff Sale-Accounting and Deposit of Proceeds

Recently, questions have been raised with the Department of Treasury regarding the procedures and accounting of unclaimed recovered stolen property sold by the county sheriff in accordance with Public Act 54 of 1960 (MCL 434.171).

MCL 434.171 provides that the sheriff of the county must report in writing to the board of commissioners any recovered stolen property, including money, which is unclaimed for 6 months after recovery. The sheriff must request in writing for the authority to dispose of the recovered stolen property in accordance with the statute.

MCL 434.172 provides:

  • The board of commissioners must act upon the request of the sheriff within 6 months after receipt of the request from the sheriff.
  • If the board approves the request, the sheriff shall publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least 5 days before the sale.
  • The notice must describe that the property can be purchased at public sale to the highest bidder. The notice must include:
    • The property, including money;
    • Time of the public sale; and
    • Place of the public sale.
  • Money, which has face value, shall not be subject to public sale. The sheriff may obtain an appraisal to determine whether money, because of age, origin, metal content or value as a collector's item, has a value other than its face value.
  • Until the date of the sale, the property (including money) may be claimed at the sheriff's office.

    If ownership is proved:

    • Sheriff must turn the property, including the money, over to the owner.
    • Cancel the sale, insofar as the claimed property is concerned.

MCL 434.173 defines the procedures for the deposit of the sale proceeds and money.

After the sale has been conducted by the sheriff:

  • Proceeds from the sale must be deposited intact with the county treasurer.
Cost of the sale, including reasonable appraisal, fees may be deducted, however, it must be properly documented with the deposit to the county treasurer.
  • All sale proceeds are credited to the general fund of the county in a revenue account within the 643-650 series and titled "Sale of Unclaimed Stolen Property."

If you have any questions, please call at (517) 373-3227 or write:

Michigan Department of Treasury
Local Audit and Finance Division
P.O. Box 30728
Lansing, Michigan 48909-8228