LAKE COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – Checks worth thousands of dollars are coming to some Lake County residents. And, yes, they are legit.

The money is a return of overpaid property taxes — some of which were made years and years ago.

Lake County Treasurer Michael Zuren explains when he was elected in 2021 he learned about an overpayment account where duplicate property taxes had been deposited. He said he was told that previously taxpayers had to request the overpayments back.

“I questioned how would anyone even know they made a duplicate payment since the account started in the mid-1980s,” said Zuren.

That’s when he appointed staff to research the overpayments, looking back as far as 1985, and begin returning the money.

Since then, $4.3 million traced back to about 16,000 parcels of land have been returned, credited, or identified.

“Some of the smaller amounts we credited to the taxpayers’ next property tax bill and larger amounts I have been driving out to hand the checks to the homeowners,” said Zuren. “Considering some of the refunds are from 20-plus years ago, many of the homeowners are retired or widowed and really needed the money. Almost everyone I met was thrilled about the refund.”

The refunds have ranged from 1 cent to over $42,000. Zuren says while most of the money has already been returned, he estimates there are 50 to 100 checks still to go out.