CFO Alex Sink photo

Volume 4 Number 11
March 16, 2007

Dear Floridian:
 


The legislative session is now fully underway and this week I had an opportunity to share my priorities as they relate to our legislative agenda.

I was interviewed on The Florida Channel's "Florida Face-to-Face" and that interview will be shown on stations throughout Florida.

Please see the schedule below and take a moment to tune in.


Sincerely,

Alex Sink

 


Florida Department of Financial Services logo

 


Insurance Consumer Advocate Milligan

CFO SINK AND GENERAL MILLIGAN ON INSURANCE CONSUMER ADVOCATE LEGISLATION
 
Led by State Senator Bill Posey (R- Rockledge), the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 1884, which expands the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate.

In response, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink issued the following statement:

“This bill puts consumers on more equal footing with insurance companies and gives them a louder voice. I applaud Senator Posey and the other senators for taking this step to expand the Office of Insurance Consumer Advocate.”

General Bob Milligan, Insurance Consumer Advocate, also issued the following statement:

“As the Insurance Consumer Advocate, it’s my goal to help educate and help defend the rights of Floridians when it comes to insurance. Today, consumers took a big step toward being invited to the table when insurance decisions are made.” CONTINUED
 

 


Alex Sink
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

 

“FLORIDA FACE-TO-FACE" WITH CFO ALEX SINK

The Florida Channel is airing an interview with Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink on “Florida Face-to-Face” in 12 cities across the state.  During the interview, CFO Sink lays out her 2007 Legislative priorities, touching on her vision for the My Safe Florida Home program and KidCare, as well as her work on addressing the potential economic impacts of climate change and issues relating to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.

 The statewide television schedule for the CFO’s “Florida Face-to-Face” interview is below.  As of Monday, March 19, 2007, you may also view the interview online at http://www.wfsu.org/tfc/index.html. 

“Florida Face-to-Face” with CFO Alex Sink will air as follows: 

  City                   Station                      Date                  Time

Cocoa

WBCC-Channel 68

Thur., March15

Sun., March 18

  7:30 p.m.

  5:00 p.m.

Daytona Beach

WCEU-Channel 15

Sun., March 18

10:30 a.m.

Ft. Myers

WGCU-Channel 30

Sun., March 18

10:30 a.m.

Gainesville

WUFT-Channel 5

Wed., March 21

  1:30 p.m.

Jacksonville

WJCT-Channel 7

Tues., March 20

  2:00 p.m.

Miami

WLRN-Channel 17

Sun., March 18

Mon., March 19 

12:00 p.m.

  1:00 a.m.

Orlando

WMFE-Channel 24

Sat., March 17

12:30 a.m.

Panama City

WFSG-Channel 56

Thur., March 15

Sun., March 18

6:30 p.m.

10:30 a.m.

Pensacola

WSRE-Channel 23

Sun., March 18

12:00 p.m.

Tallahassee

WFSU-Channel 11

Thur., March 15

Sun., March 18

  7:30 p.m.

11:30 a.m.

Tallahassee

FSU's Cable 4

Mon. - Friday

Sat., March 17

Sun., March 18

Wed., March 21

  6:30 a.m.

  9:00 p.m.

  6:30 p.m.

  6:00 p.m.

Tampa

WEDU-Channel 3

Sun., March 18

11:30 a.m.

Tampa

WUSF-Channel 16

Sun., March 18

  7:30 a.m.

West Palm

WXEL-Channel 42

Sat., March 17

  7:30 a.m.



Detective Geoffrey Branch of the Department of Financial Services kisses wife Gloria after hearing he won the Star 30 award.

FLDFS DETECTIVE WINS DISTINGUISHED LAW OFFICER AWARD

Florida Department of Financial Services Detective Geoffrey R. Branch of the Division of Insurance Fraud was one of three recipients named 2006 Distinguished Law Officers of the Year in Palm Beach County by The Palm Beach Post. All winners received $1,000 each and a trophy.

Branch, the lead detective in the division of insurance fraud's West Palm Beach field office, won the Star 30 award for agencies or units with 30 or less sworn officers.

Branch uncovered one of the largest known workers' compensation fraud schemes last year, leading the investigation into shell construction companies that led to six arrests and the seizure of over $2 million. "This award is more about an identity for our agency than it is an award for me," Branch said.

Branch detected shell construction companies whose only existence was on paper. He learned their sole purpose was to acquire small workers compensation policies and "rent" the companies' certificates of insurance to hundreds of contractors using thousands of illegal workers.

The scheme was designed to evade the payment of millions of dollars in workers compensation premiums.

Branch, a detective with the division of insurance fraud for about eight years, has a master's degree in criminal justice administration from Lynn University. He is an adjunct criminal justice instructor at Kaplan University.


SOUTH CENTRAL BFAI DETECTIVES RECOGNIZED FOR INVESTIGATION

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd formally recognized members of the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI) South Central Region investigative team for their investigative work on a recent homicide that led to the arrests of three suspects. 

 “Our arson detectives are recognized among the best in the nation and I thank them for their commitment and dedication to protecting the citizens of Florida,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal. 
  
Members of the team were Captain Mark Sauls, Lieutenant Brandon Ball, BFAI’s case agent Detective Mike Douglas and Detective Eric Saccasyn and canine Xena (not shown).  Sheriff Judd formally recognized the members of the investigative team and awarded each a Sheriff's Commendation for their efforts in the case. 
CONTINUED


WASHINGTON COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FRAUD, PERJURY

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the arrest of a Washington County woman on charges of workers’ compensation fraud and perjury in an official proceeding. Laura Harrell Coleman, 57, allegedly created and submitted false time sheets to the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) to receive nearly $340,000 in workers’ compensation reimbursement.

Coleman was arrested Thursday in Washington County. The charges stem from an investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) and are being prosecuted in Washington County by the State Attorney’s Office. DIF’s case agent was Detective Selaina Porter. If convicted on the charges, Coleman faces up to 30 years in prison, in addition to fines and restitution.

“This woman was knowingly and systematically exploiting a system set up to help Floridians in need,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “This office is committed to protecting Floridians and their pocketbooks from these types of crimes.”  CONTINUED
 


 

CFO SINK ANNOUNCES STATE-OF-THE-ART INTERVIEW RECORDING SYSTEM, TO INCREASE FRAUD CONVICTION RATES

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that a new state-of-the-art interview recording system is now being used in the Miami regional office of the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud. The new recording system is expected to increase conviction rates by providing law enforcement officers and the courts with more accurate and complete evidence of statements made to investigators by witnesses and offenders.

“The implementation of a high-tech recording system is another innovative way my office is working to protect Floridians by holding people who commit fraud accountable,” said CFO Sink who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “Prosecuting fraud more efficiently will help increase conviction rates and protect Floridians from financial crimes.” CONTINUED