Volume 8 Number 5 February 4, 2011
Dear Fellow Floridians:
This week, I had the opportunity to be a part of Attorney General Bondi’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award Ceremony; an important occasion where we recognize law enforcement professionals for their outstanding performance, unquestionable integrity, and selfless dedication to duty. It was truly an honor to be amongst Law Enforcement’s finest men and women.
Those who enter the profession do so with great commitment and sacrifice; and some give the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Last year alone, nine Florida Law Enforcement Officers lost their lives protecting each and every one of us. Since January 1, five officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. Just this week, we mourn the loss of Holmes County, Department of Corrections K-9 Officer Greg Malloy.
I was also proud that Detective Steve Grenier from Division of Insurance Fraud and Detective Paul Paterson from the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations were among the nominees. Detective Paterson successfully worked many fire cases this past year and helped prevent a multi-million dollar insurance fraud. In the past fiscal year, Detective Grenier has presented 18 mortgage fraud cases, recorded 14 arrests, 13 convictions, and obtained $17,783,946 in court ordered restitution. Their efforts have helped put money back into the pockets of honest Floridians.
This year’s winner was Department of Corrections Officer Reeshemah Taylor. In June, 2009, Officer Taylor intervened in a dangerous hostage situation in the jail. A career criminal serving multiple life sentences pulled a gun on another correctional officer and put the gun to the officer's head. Taylor rushed into the cell, overpowered the inmate, got the gun and restrained him. Knowing the inmate had nothing to loose, Officer Taylor put herself in danger to protect her fellow officer and maintain order in the jail.
I know I speak for my fellow Floridians when I say thank you for their service and everyday sacrifice.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater Thursday announced the appointment of veteran prosecutor and Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Kirwin as Deputy CFO over Law Enforcement with a laser-focus on combating insurance fraud. Mr. Kirwin will oversee the Department of Financial Services’ three law enforcement areas: the Division of Insurance Fraud, which enforces the criminal laws related to insurance transactions, the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, which is responsible for conducting fire, arson and explosives investigations and the Office of Fiscal Integrity, which investigates fraud, waste and abuse of state money and resources.
“Tom’s long service as a prosecutor in military, state and federal courts makes him uniquely qualified to marshal a team of dedicated law enforcement officers and more aggressively prepare and present trial-ready cases for prosecution,” said CFO Atwater. “I am honored that he agreed to join in the fight against fraud that is costing Florida families millions of dollars each year.”
Combating insurance and financial fraud is one of CFO Atwater’s top priorities. All types of insurance fraud cost the average Florida family as much as $400 to $700 a year in increased premiums. Medicaid and public assistance fraud compound the financial burden on Floridians, with an estimated $2 billion in fraud, waste and abuse.
According to CFO Atwater, Mr. Kirwin is charged with developing and implementing strategies that will bring these costs down. Personal Injury Protection fraud is particularly pervasive, with Florida ranked number one in the country for questionable medical claims associated with staged car crashes. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, three of the top five cities in the country for staged auto accidents are in Florida—Tampa, Miami and Orlando. CFO Atwater is committed to fighting fraud and entrusts Mr. Kirwin to help carry out this priority.
Mr. Kirwin is a veteran of the United States Army where he served as a JAG officer. Following his military service, Mr. Kirwin served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Second Judicial Circuit where he supervised a felony trial division. In 1992, Mr. Kirwin joined the United States Attorneys Office of the Northern District where he was appointed twice as Interim United States Attorney responsible for all federal prosecutions from Pensacola to Gainesville.
I had the chance to stop into Diana’s Café in Miami last week and have some delicious “Café con Leche.” Diana has owned and operated this popular café in downtown Miami for 9 years. Diana embodies the America entrepreneurial spirit and the idea that anyone can live the American dream. She and other small business owners will help turn our great state’s economy around.
This week, CFO Atwater will appear on “Florida Face to Face” with Beth Switzer, an in-depth interview program where state leaders and policymakers talk about the issues that affect Floridians. Be sure to check out CFO Atwater’s appearance on “Florida Face to Face” on stations across the state listed here.
Throughout the month of February we celebrate the history and culture of African Americans. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and Florida’s own Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, who serves as our great state’s first African American Lieutenant Governor, have paved the way for future generations. This month we pay tribute to those who have gone before us, and those who advocate for today’s generations.
Make sure to visit Governor Rick Scott’s site at www.floridablackhistory.com for information on African American artists, suggested reading and biographies on Florida’s leaders.
Ever have a question regarding insurance and don’t know where turn to find the answer?
The Florida Department of Financial Services Insurance Library has a collection of details about almost every line of insurance. It is best used when you are looking for an answer to a specific question related to insurance. Through the Insurance Library you can search for specific words or phrases or browse insurance topics via a convenient A to Z table of contents.
Additionally, you can browse our Consumer Quick Tips, read through our online collection of consumer guides, or challenge yourself by taking our Insurance IQ Quiz.
If you are currently shopping for insurance, have a specific question, or would just like to do some research in your spare time, we have resources available for you.
Please visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Consumers for more information.