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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

This week, the Fitch Rating Agency reaffirmed Florida’s AAA credit rating and upgraded our outlook from negative to stable. Fitch’s announcement is great news for our state and an affirmation that our efforts to grow the economy, decrease debt and ensure government accountability are paying off.

Florida's AAA rating translates directly into savings for Florida taxpayers by keeping our borrowing costs low and keeping taxpayer dollars where they belong – in the pockets ofYour Money Matters our residents. Floridians know best how to spend their money and in turn that best strengthens our economy.

The Fitch report attributes Florida’s upgrade to a trend of economic stabilization and the implementation of fiscally prudent measures, such as a balanced state budget. Because of Florida’s sound financial practices today, Florida is going to be more prosperous tomorrow.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Yahoo Finance: Fitch Affirms Florida GO Bonds at 'AAA'; Outlook Revised to Stable

Sun Sentinel: $1.67 million in unclaimed valuables sold at auction

Sun Sentinel: Free state website advises preparing financially for hurricane

UF News: Innovation Hub spawns 250 jobs in just 20 months

Wall Street Journal: New Flash of Optimism for Small-Business Owners

Auction Breaks Record at $1.67 Million

Florida CFO Atwater has announced that the Unclaimed Property Auction held last Saturday in Fort Lauderdale was the highest-grossing auction in the 52-year history of Florida’s unclaimed property program, breaking the previous record by $430,000. The auction, which drew 336 bidders, raised a total of $1.67 million for Florida’s schools from more than 80,000 individual items sold.

CFO as auctioneer at Unclaimed Property Auction “This auction was a tremendous success for Florida’s unclaimed property program and the families who benefit from the program’s important work,” said CFO Atwater. “I am very proud of the men and women in my department who work tirelessly to reunite Floridians with their dollars and property while also doing so much to help our public schools with the sales from our auctions.”

CFO Atwater opened as guest auctioneer, selling featured items such as two 1776 continental notes. All auctioned items were from abandoned safe deposit boxes at Florida financial institutions.

Unclaimed money, including the earnings from auctions, is deposited into the state school fund, where, until claimed, it is used for public education. There is no statute of limitations, and citizens have the right to claim their property any time at no cost.

In his first 30 months in office, CFO Atwater’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property has seen record returns, reuniting more than 850,000 owners, heirs and businesses with more than $574 million, which represents 27 percent of the total value of property returned since the program’s inception in 1961.

To browse or claim unclaimed property, visit www.FLTreasureHunt.org, or call 1-88-VALUABLE or 850-413-5555.

First Conviction of Staged Motor Vehicle Accident in Lee County

Florida CFO Atwater announced the conviction of Alain Guevara, 29, of Lehigh Acres for staging a motor vehicle accident. Guevara pleaded guilty this week at the beginning of a jury trial scheduled in the 20th Judicial Circuit Court, making it Lee County's firstDivision of Insurance Fraud badge conviction involving a staged motor vehicle accident, which carries a two-year minimum mandatory sentence.

“I applaud the hard work of our fraud investigators for thoroughly investigating all leads to bring this individual to justice,” said CFO Atwater. “We will not tolerate anyone who cheats the system, because it steals from every honest Floridian.”

An investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) revealed that Guevara and an accomplice staged a vehicle crash in August 2012 and then knowingly presented false, incomplete and misleading information for payment of a PIP claim.

The investigation included the subpoena of phone records, which revealed that the two parties involved in the crash were not strangers and that there were repeated calls between the drivers immediately before and after the accident occurred. The insurance companies that received the fraudulent claims were Allstate Insurance Company and REPWEST Insurance Company.

Anyone with information of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded more than $340,000 to more than 50 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program. The program rewards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.

Innovation Drives Florida's Economy

Florida has worked hard to create an environment for long-term growth and investment that allows businesses to better serve their communities and employ more of their neighbors. This culture of economic innovation has helped Florida Florida's Bottom Line be recognized as the “Most Innovative State in the Nation” by Fast Company magazine this year.

Beginning with this edition on biotechnology, Florida’s Bottom Line is presenting a three-part series on Innovative Florida, highlighting the people and industries that are driving our future as a diversified economy. We are now recognized as one of the most attractive areas worldwide for the biotechnology industry, with more than 200 biotechnology companies calling Florida home.

The quarterly edition of Florida's Bottom Line is complemented by its often-updated website, www.MyFloridaCFO.com/FloridasBottomLine. When new economic data is released, it can be found here. Florida's consumer confidence, retail index, employment statistics and various other resources will keep you up-to-date.