By Michele DeLuca
Niagara Gazette — Does your palm itch? There’s an old wives’ tale that says if your palm itches you have money coming to you.
No? Well, Bob Stanek, a Niagara Falls native, can tell you for sure. Stanek is a money finder.
The 1993 Niagara Catholic graduate works for a Tonawanada company called Quantum Recovery. His job is to go into the community and find people who would like him to research and see if they have money coming from somewhere. While there are some sites on the Internet for finding money, Stanek said some are scams and cautioned users to be careful, especially if the site wants the client to send money.
Over all, money finding is a pleasant job, he says. His favorite part is handing over the big checks which are sometimes, literally, big in size and used to promote the company’s successes (see photo at right).
He took a few moments recently to answer a few questions for Gazette readers:
QUESTION: How did you get started int he money finding business?
ANSWER: A friend of mine, the co-owner of Quatum Recovery, Brian Zirnheld, was looking for someone to go out into the community and help people reclaim assets that are out there. I started setting up kiosks around the region. I’ve been at the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, all the Budwey’s Supermarkets including Newfane, Kenmore and North Tonawanda, the Broadway Market during Easter, and two or three times a week I’m at the 18th Street Community Resource Center on 18th and Linwood in Niagara Falls.
Q: How does the process work?
A: We actually invite people into our booth where we’re set up with a computer. We search our databases to see if there are any lost or abandoned funds in either that person’s name or in the name of a a relative or friend.
Q: Aren’t people suspicious?
A: At times they can be. But, we’re members of the Better Business Bureau, which is huge with us. And we also belong to the Kenmore Tonawanda Chamber of Commerce.
Q: How often do you find money for people?
A: Every day that I’ve been set up on location I find money for people whether its for themselves or relatives, living and deceased.
Q: Everyday? That’s kind of hard to believe. Don’t you find it hard to believe?
I have to say that I might if I were somebody who didn’t know the business. After learning about the $11 billion in lost assets in New York State alone, I have certainly become a believer. And we’re one of the largest money finding companies in the state.
Q: Who are your clients?
A: Our clients are just about anybody. I’ve had retired sheriffs, attorneys, doctors, and then we see your everyday ordinary people. My own grandmother had a claim, my mother in law had a claim we just filed a couple months ago. My grandmothers claim was for about $6,000. My mother-in-law’s claim hasn’t come back yet. We never know exactly how much is coming back until we get the check in hand.
Q: How does it work?
A: The process is pretty simple. The client gives us a name. We enter it into the data base. If we find something we do all the legwork to get their money back. We fill out all the paperwork. There’s no upfront fee and no minimum charge. We work on a small 15 percent contingency fee, based on what we retrieve for them. They pay nothing at all until we get their check in our hands. Once we receive the check we call them to come pickup their check in our office.
Q: So how much have you been able to retrieve?
A: In just four years that we’ve been in business, we’ve handed out more than 10 million dollars to our clients.
Q: Where do you find all this money?
A: It could be old bank accounts, stocks, inheritances that dodn’t reach them, mutual funds, insurance policies, rebate checks, and things like that.
Q: What’s your best story?
A: I had an older woman come up to me in Budwey’s. She was skeptical at first. She thought I was selling something. We actually did find an insurance claim on her deceased father. She got a check back for more than $20,000.
Contact Features Editor
at 282-2311, ext. 2263.
Contact Features Editor Michele DeLuca at 282-2311, ext. 2263.