Montana and 20 other states joined in an original action filing in the U.S. Supreme Court against the state of Delaware on Thursday. The dispute is over which state is entitled to unclaimed “official checks” sold by MoneyGram, which were turned over to Delaware. John Barnes with Attorney General Tim Fox’s office said Montana is owed at least $1.1 million.

"Because MoneyGram is based in Delaware, headquartered there, even though it does business in all of the states, Delaware is essentially claiming this money for itself, and the states are saying 'No,'" Barnes said. "Under federal law and under our own state laws, any of those monies that originated our states, should fall under our own abandoned and unclaimed property statutes."

Barnes said if the Supreme Court takes the case and agrees with the 21 states, the money would then go to the Department of Revenue where the money would be put in the state general fund, keeping a small portion.

"This is an important move. It represents a good chunk of money," Barnes said. "But the most important thing is really the rule of law; What the federal law says, what our own state law says, so the attorney's generals of 21 states have decided to do this."

Joining Montana are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

Barnes said it’s unknown when the Supreme Court could move on this case.

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