2:11 PM / Sunday February 25, 2018

22 Apr 2017

Sheriff Sales collect $60 million in new taxes; Returns millions in excess funds to property owners

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
April 22, 2017 Category: Color Of Money Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Sheriff Jewell Williams speaking at the recent City Council budget hearings.  (Photo: Bill Z. Foster)

Testifying at City Council budget hearings, Sheriff Jewell Williams described the millions of dollars in new revenues generated by the monthly sheriff’s sales.    The vigorous collection of delinquent real estate taxes through auction has resulted in an additional $60 million per year in taxes and fees that is now forwarded to the City’s general fund.

“In my first year in office, Sheriff’s Sales collected $27 million in delinquent taxes and fees”, said Sheriff Williams. “From three sales a month in 2012, we now conduct six monthly sales, including a land bank sale, and there is evidence that the backlog of delinquent cases is at last shrinking. While we still process more than 27,000 properties a year, the backlog of delinquencies and the amounts collected are getting smaller.”

Of the 27,000 properties processed each year, approximately 7,000 go to a final sale, and processing properties is how a vastly improved operation.  When the Sheriff took office in 2012, it required up to 120 days after settlement for a property to be returned to productive use.  Last year, the time between a property’s sale and the issuance of a new deed was reduced to 15 days. 

The office has also dedicated resources to finding people who are owed excess funds from the sale of their property.  After a property is sold, settled and all liabilities and debts have been paid and recorded, the owner of record at the time the court ordered the sale (“defendant”) may recover any excess balance remaining on the account through the Sheriff’s Defendant Asset Recovery Team, also known as DART. 

Historically, only a fraction of these excess funds were returned to the previous property owners.  Sheriff Jewell Williams made it a priority when he took office in 2012 to search out those owed money by increasing the efforts of the DART unit. Under his leadership, the unit has been more aggressive in validating which defendants are eligible to receive payment and connecting with those individuals to put a check in their hands. 

Last year, DART located 140 people and returned $2.2 million in excess funds to them.  Since 2012, nearly $11 million has been returned to more than 400 people.   If property has been sold at Sheriff’s sale within the past 18 months, former owners can file a claim with the DART unit on the Sheriff’s website,

After 18 months, any funds that cannot be returned to the owner of record is forwarded (escheated) to the state as unclaimed funds.  In six (6) years,  $50 million has been escheated to the state.  Owners can apply for this money through the Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s unclaimed funds process.  Last year, the Sheriff’s office escheated $7,775,416 to the state in unclaimed funds.


The Sheriff’s office has also continued its robust efforts to educate the public on services it provides through workshops, seminars, and events all across the city.

Other highlights of the Sheriff’s testimony to Council included:

  • Training of new Deputies for the warrant service unit
  • Security operations for the City’s Probation and Parole office
  • Secure pouches to eliminate cell phone use in courtrooms
  • Enhanced security for City Hall
  • Gunlock giveaway-2800 free gunlocks have been made available to citizens on request

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Go With The-Flo

Tamron Hall helps raise funds for the Apollo Theatre Foundation at the annual “Dining With The Divas” luncheon

February 22, 2018

ABOVE PHOTO:  Tamron Hall (Debby Wong/shutterstock)   By Florence Anthony Joking about her mother’s daughter being “unemployed”...

Color Of Money

Q&A with Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express

February 22, 2018

ABOVE PHOTO:  CEO and Chairman of American Express Kenneth Chenault attends LMCC gala & benefit dinner at...

Food And Beverage

Throw a Hot-Pot Dinner Party

February 22, 2018

ABOVE PHOTO:  Caribbean Hot-Pot Broth with Papaya Pica Sauce   Family Features Heat up your next get-together...


The secret to sticking to your resolutions just may lie in your Medicare benefits

February 22, 2018

BPT Despite our best intentions, 80 percent of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions...


Newly launched provides much needed personalized support for people impacted by cancer

February 22, 2018

BPT Whether you’ve helped a family member through treatment or are facing a diagnosis yourself, hearing the...


SUNscopes for the week of Feb. 25

February 22, 2018

All Signs: This is the last week of the year when the Sun is in Aquarius. A...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff