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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridian:Public Assistance Fraud

Medicaid and public assistance fraud costs the state more than $2 billion a year, limiting the resources that are available to citizens who are actually in need. This past fiscal year the Division of Public Assistance Fraud (PAF) investigated 2,627 cases with 99 percent of the cases resulting in fraudsters being disqualified from public assistance benefits. As a result, these efforts saved taxpayers $19.7 million. These are impressive numbers, but we are always looking for new ways to stay ahead of the cheats who prey on the public’s pocketbook. This great work has not gone unnoticed in the law enforcement community. On Thursday, I was able to tout these great successes to law enforcement officials and fraud-fighting agencies from across the state at the State Law Enforcement Bureau Summit in Orlando. State Law Enforcement Bureau Summit

We are developing new solutions to the fraud problem that for years has been plaguing our Medicaid and public assistance programs and our state’s budget. We continue to see the streamlining of processes, creation of new taskforces and creative and innovative uses of new technology in our fraud divisions across the state. All of these are significant factors in the fight against fraud and part of the reason why Florida is experiencing its lowest crime rate in more than 40 years.

This is no different for our Division of PAF. The collaborative efforts with local, state and federal law enforcement and civilian agencies have led to more cases being ready for arrest and prosecution.

It is up to us to make sure that Florida is no longer at the top of the list as a place where fraud is rampant. Each dollar taken in fraud is a dollar extracted from the pocket of a taxpayer and unjustly and unscrupulously wasted. Our successes have been significant, but there’s so much more to be done.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Volunteer Firefighter Training Weekend

More than 250 volunteer firefighters from throughout Florida are participating in a few days of concentrated training. The 7th annual event, from Sept. 12 to 16, is being held at the Northwest Florida State College in Niceville.Volunteer Firefighter Weekend

“Firefighters put their lives on the line for their fellow Floridians every time they respond to a call,” CFO and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater said. “I am proud that we are able to offer this training to assure not just that our citizens are better protected, but also that our firefighters have the training they need to return home safely each night.”

Friday evening includes hands-on demonstrations of vehicle extrication equipment. Twenty-five classes will be available over the weekend, including firefighter water safety and survival, explosive awareness, live fire evolutions, basic firefighting skills and wild land firefighting with live fire demonstrations and practical exercises occurring each day.

This training is made possible through a cooperative effort with local fire departments, the Florida State Fire Marshal, the Florida Fire and Emergency Services Foundation and the Florida Forest Service. To find out more about the Division of State Fire Marshal and the State Fire College, please visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com.

News of Interest

WTSP St. Petersburg: 9/11 remembrances in Tallahassee

Wall Street Journal: Sometimes, One Little Phone Can Have a Big Impact on the Economy

Tampa Bay Times: Florida credit unions rebound in auto, mortgage lending

Sun-Sentinel: Florida and other Southern states lead job openings

Washington Post: Moody’s says US government debt rating would be cut if no federal budget deal is reached

Naples Daily News: State looks to increase freight business; Southwest Florida wants piece of the action

Miami Herald: Miami-based Brightstar expanding role in wireless communications

Orlando Business Journal: Orlando named among top cities for startups

Florida's Bottom LineFlorida's Bottom Line

This issue of Florida’s Bottom Line focuses on Florida’s small business community and how to provide a stable economic environment so that we can continue to help businesses flourish and expand.

The companion website features business news updates and Florida By the Numbers, a collection of key statistics illustrating important changes in Florida’s economy over the past month. The latest data is shown on topics such as consumer confidence, unemployment rate, new foreclosure activity and Florida's leading, stock and retail index graphs. Updates are made as new statistics become available.