On Monday, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis doubled down in his efforts to fight fraud in the Sunshine State.
Patronis unveiled “Fraud Free Florida” which is “aimed at better coordinating collective investigative efforts to protect Florida’s large population, especially seniors, from scam artists.”
“The initiative will bring together statewide law enforcement officials, local state attorneys, private sector stakeholders, and members of CFO Patronis’ fraud investigative teams. Its goal will be to help Florida stay ahead of new scams and take on rampant fraud already taking place including: fraud at unscrupulous opioid treatment centers, public assistance fraud, identity theft, and cybersecurity issues,” the state CFO’s office noted.
Patronis weighed in on Monday to stress how much of a problem fraud is in Florida.
“Florida currently ranks first in fraud and second in identity theft nationwide. In 2017, identity theft cost Americans nearly $905 million,” Patronis said. “This is unacceptable, and we must use innovative ways to stay two steps ahead of criminals who want to take your identity, steal money from families who need it, and prey on vulnerable Floridians. We see it after every hurricane, millions of dollars are stolen as crooks prey on Florida families in their time of need to make a quick buck.
“I am proud to announce this initiative today and look forward to working with an all-star team of top law enforcement officials and stakeholders from across our state. I look forward to creating a lasting impact as we go after these criminals and expose scam artists who aim to cheat the system and target hardworking Floridians,” Patronis added.
“The new Fraud Free Florida initiative joins the ranks of CFO Patronis’ already robust Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS), which includes the Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) aimed at curbing hurricane-related insurance fraud, as well as his Division of Public Assistance Fraud,” the CFO’s office noted, highlighting a new website to report fraud. “CFO Patronis’ DIFS is one of the top law enforcement agencies in the state dedicated to rooting out fraud and investigating financial crimes. Fraud Free Florida will help agencies better collaborate on fraud cases and identify law changes needed to make Florida the toughest state in the nation on fraud.”