SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The state’s unclaimed property program returned $226 million in unclaimed property to its rightful owners last year. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced last week that an estimated 174,000 claims were paid in 2020 despite a sagging economy and the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. The treasurer’s office controls the property when it’s discovered until the owner can be found. Property can include unpaid life insurance, forgotten bank accounts and even rebate cards. The program, made law in 1961, was assigned to the treasurer’s office in 1999. Since Frerichs took office in 2015, the state has returned $1.2 billion in 790,000 claims.