Volume 4 Number 16
April 20, 2007

Dear Floridian,

Today, the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) is holding their annual “Financial Fitness Friday” intended to provide Floridians with free access to financial guidance.  Through this event, the FICPA is providing Florida residents the opportunity to ask Certified Public Accountants general financial questions — FREE OF CHARGE. 

By calling the FICPA’s Financial Fitness Hotline at 1-800-342-3197, Ext. 554, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, April 20, 2007 or emailing financial questions at www.ficpa.org, Floridians can ask advice from volunteer Certified Public Accountants.  Floridians can also access additional financial resources, including check list on how to remain financially fit, from the FICPA Web site.  

I encourage all Floridians to call or write the hotline, to learn more about how they can better secure their families financial futures! 

Sincerely,

Alex Sink


Florida Department of Financial Services logo

CFO SINK ON INSURANCE COMMISSIONER’S POLITICAL FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES

 After learning that Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty was reportedly the sole host for a political fundraiser for the wife of one of his employees, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink issued the following statement: 

“The Offices of Insurance Regulation and Financial Regulation were established to remove those offices and the Commissioners from direct political activity related to their regulated industries.  I am concerned that Mr. McCarty may have used his position as Insurance Commissioner to solicit political contributions from the insurance industry. 

“Upon learning that the Commissioner was to host a political fundraiser, I shared with him my concerns that his involvement was unsuitable and could cast Florida’s regulatory system in an unfavorable light.  While this may not be illegal, it is certainly not right.   

“Further, I am disturbed by the allegation that state computers may have been used for political purposes.  My department’s Inspector General will be investigating this matter.”  


 

CFO SINK JOINS U.S. ATTORNEY, FBI IN ANNOUNCING 25-COUNT INDICTMENT IN $100 MILLION FRAUD CASE

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink joined Acting U.S. Attorney James R. Klindt and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Folmar in announcing a 25-count indictment charging five suspects in a $100 million workers’ compensation fraud scam that left hundreds of workers in Florida and throughout the United States without urgently needed medical care.

“We found one victim homeless, living in her car, because of mounting medical bills, and five families left with no death benefits after fatal accidents,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “Floridians suffered greatly and did not receive needed medical care and workers’ compensation benefits because these individuals were interested only in enriching themselves.”

The indictments unsealed today named Jerry M. Brewer, 56, Capistrano Beach, Calif., currently residing in England; Donald E. Touchet, 53, El Cajon, Calif.; Dr. Richard E. Standridge, 58, Tempe, Ariz., Robert J. Jennings, 59, Danville, Ill.; and Joshua Poole, 33, Atlanta, Ga. Three of the men are facing 215 years or more in prison if convicted on the counts against them. CONTINUED


 


 

CFO SINK ON PROTECTING FLORIDA’S MILITARY FROM DECEPTIVE INSURANCE PRACTICES

 Concerned about Florida’s servicemen and women falling victim to deceptive and improper insurance sales practices, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink personally spoke before the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Monday in favor of an amendment on Senate Bill 2702 that will increase protections for Florida’s military.  The amendment, sponsored by State Senator Ted Deutch (D-Delray Beach), directs the Department of Financial Services and the Financial Services Commission to adopt formal rules to protect Florida’s members of the United States Armed Forces.   

CFO Sink has been working to implement greater protections from dishonest insurance practices for our military after learning about the problem at several meetings of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.  After unanimous passage by the committee, CFO Sink offered the following statement: 

“It is unthinkable that some unscrupulous insurance agents would sell bad investments, unnecessary life insurance policies, and misrepresent themselves and their products to members of our military.  Our soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms, and they deserve protection from predatory or deceptive insurance sales practices.   

“In fact, Florida’s servicemen and women deserve to be offered first-rate financial products by trusted and responsible advisors so that they can provide for their families and save for retirement.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to ensure that we safeguard the financial futures of the members of Florida’s Armed Forces.”


Unlicensed agent snared in undercover operation

A South Florida man is facing charges of selling insurance without a license after he attempted to sell an annuity to an undercover Department of Financial Services’ investigator.

Eric Brown, 37, of Highland Beach, was arrested Tuesday on charges of three counts each of selling insurance without a license and violating a department order following an investigation by the department’s Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF).  If convicted on all of the charges, Brown faces up to 30 years in prison in addition to fines and restitution.  The department’s Division of Legal Services previously revoked Brown’s agent license in January 2006 for allegedly misleading senior citizens in the sale of annuities.  

“This man knowingly violated the law and put consumers at risk, and we will not tolerate that,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who oversees the department.  “We want consumers to know that we have made it easy for them to check the license of any insurance agent or company, and we strongly recommend that they do so before every transaction.” CONTINUED


CFO SINK PRESENTS 2006 FIRE SERVICE AWARDS 

Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink honored 10 fire and rescue service personnel and a community college for exemplary dedication to fire and rescue services last year.  CFO Sink recognized each honoree in a round of events, including during this morning’s regular Cabinet meeting in the Capitol, and presented them with proclamations signed by Governor Charlie Crist and members of the Cabinet. 

“These men and women have been chosen by their peers for this recognition because they have demonstrated exemplary courage and commitment to their profession,” said CFO Sink.  “That our responders regularly honor those they consider the best among them demonstrates the integrity they all bring to their work, and they have my utmost gratitude for all that they do.”  CONTINUED


 

 

REWARD MONEY GROWS IN ISLAMIC CENTER ARSON 

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as state fire marshal, announced that an additional $2,500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible for a fire last week at the Islamic Education Center of Tampa.  The reward money, posted by the Florida Advisory Council on Arson Prevention, is in addition to $10,000 in rewards already being offered by the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay. 

“Our country was founded on religious freedom and it is simply un-American that anyone would victimize a religious community,” said CFO Sink.  “Arson is a violent crime, and we need to get whoever did this off the street as quickly as possible.  I urge anyone with information about this tragic crime to come forward.”  

CFO Sink expressed appreciation for efforts by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida’s former State Fire Marshal, to generate heightened attention to the case by bringing state and federal agencies together to work closely and quickly. CONTINUED


FLORIDA TREASURY JOINS INVESTOR NETWORK ON CLIMATE RISK
State Joins Network of Financial Leaders Managing More than $3.7 Trillion in Assets
 

Fresh off the heels of hosting the first in a series of “Conversations on Climate Change,” Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that as the state treasurer, she will join the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a national network of investors focused on the business impacts of climate change. CFO Sink is the first Florida-based institutional investor to join the three-year-old organization, which now includes more than 50 public and private institutional investors managing more than $3.7 trillion in assets that focus on the future financial risks and investment opportunities posed by climate change. 

“As the State Treasurer managing more than $20 billion in Floridians’ tax dollars, my first priority is safeguarding the people’s money,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  “Joining the Investor Network on Climate Risk will keep our state prepared for the potential risks that climate change can pose to our investments.”  CONTINUED