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Indiana Court Times on 11/5/2021 by John McGauley, Court Administrator | Allen Superior Court
For Indiana courts, the COVID-19 pandemic meant an unprecedented time of change and challenge. When the time came to rethink the way in which it did business, Allen Superior Court found an opportunity amidst the turmoil.
In the summer of 2021, after months of research, the Court launched a program to find former property owners who were owed money following the foreclosure sale of their homes. When the program officially began in July, the Court found 45 former property owners who, altogether, had $282,000 in unclaimed, surplus funds held by the Allen County Clerk of the Courts.
When staff began reviewing foreclosure cases dating back to 2014, they originally found more than 70 cases with surpluses that had not been claimed by the homeowners. A surplus represents the difference between the amount owed to the financial institution that foreclosed on the property and the amount the property sold for at a sheriff’s sale.
Prior to the program, Superior Court staff—led by Civil Division Judge Jennifer DeGroote—returned more than $305,000 to former property owners on their own. Judge DeGroote, who hears foreclosure cases said, “the pandemic presented us with incredible challenges, but also this important opportunity. Our staff took the initiative to go back and track down dozens of people who had money waiting for them. This is the first time the Superior Court has done this, and the results have been remarkable.”