CFO Sink Warns Annuity Fraudsters: Tougher Laws Now on the Books
Kevin Cate or Jayme O'Rourke
TALLAHASSEE— Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's 2008 legislative push to target agents using predatory annuity practices against seniors today results in tougher penalties for fraudsters in Florida. Effective January 1, 2009, SB 2082 strengthens the fines against agents who target Floridians using fraudulent annuities sales practices. The legislation also makes it a third degree felony to submit a fraudulent signature, prohibits agents from using fake designations to falsely imply financial expertise, and clarifies and strengthens suitability requirements that agents must meet when selling an annuity to a consumer.
"This legislation represents a good first step," CFO Sink said. "We were able to increase protections for seniors and punish agents who commit financially devastating crimes. That said, I will continue to push for it to be a felony to intentionally deceive a senior into an inappropriate annuity product. And I'm not going to rest until we're able to put unscrupulous agents that prey on our seniors behind bars."
Highlights of amendments to F.S. 627.4554 – Annuity Investments by Seniors (effective 1/01/09)
Every day, hundreds of Floridians fall victim to financial fraud. Many of these victims are trusting seniors who were misled into making risky or inappropriate financial investments, including annuities and reverse mortgages, by unscrupulous agents and scam artists. In response, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has created the Safeguard our Seniors (SOS) Task Force to develop solutions to better protect Florida seniors from falling victim to financial fraud. For more information visit www.flseniors.net.
Floridians who believe they may have been victims of annuity fraud should call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236) or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com to file a complaint.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.