Volume 2, Number 9, February 28, 2005
Town hall meetings to assist Floridians who are still recovering from last year’s hurricanes have been scheduled during the next two weeks. The first meeting will be held Wednesday, March 2nd, in Pensacola at the Pensacola Civic Center at 201 East Gregory Street, with additional meetings scheduled in Sebastian, Punta Gorda and Orlando.
Hurricane victims who are still struggling to settle insurance claims are urged to attend one of these meetings. The Department of Financial Services wants to direct all available resources to getting storm victims’ lives back to normal.
Consumer specialists will be available to work with policyholders individually.
Thursday, March 10, 2005, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
-- Tom Gallagher
NORTHWEST FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE DAY AT THE CAPITOL
Tallahassee is a meeting place for visitors from all over the state when state legislators are in town. Last Wednesday was Northwest Florida Legislative Day with many counties, cities, chambers of commerce, educational institutions, Native Americans and a long list of private industry groups presenting their visions to the legislature and the community.
An urban warrior robot sat ready in the rotunda, exo-skeletal underwater dive gear stood like medieval armor and an OZ flight simulator/cockpit display invited a test.
These creations are a part of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, a university-affiliated research organization whose innovative scientists were on hand to discuss their work.
CFO Tom Gallagher was introduced to cutting-edge human/machine collaboration. Anil K. Raj, M.D., a reasearch scientist with IHMC, took him into a sensory awareness of direction and mass using nerves in the tongue. With a flat computer cable held in his mouth, impulses were sent to reflect the view of a camera. Light coming in on different sensory channels translated into sensations on the tongue. From this information, the brain could figure out how to react, like a GPS working as part of the sensory system.
While navigating a vehicle in a combat situation, a map would not be needed. A visually-impaired person could distinguish shapes, faces, depth and even catch a ball rolled across a table.
IHMC described Raj’s research in these terms, in the IHMC newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 1. “In dynamic environments such as aviation, most information is presented to a single sensory channel, typically visual. This reliance frequently leads to mishaps due to loss of situation awareness. Raj and coworkers developed multi-sensory displays using tactile transducers to improve situation awareness. Pilots using these systems can perform complex maneuvers while blindfolded. In addition, performance under high stress and workload conditions improved.”
JACKSONVILLE MAN INDICTED IN EMPLOYEE LEASING SCAM
TAMPA MAN SENTENCED IN SECURITIES, INSURANCE AND MAIL FRAUD CASE
FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION INVESTIGATION LEADS TO $7 MILLION RESTITUTION ORDER FOR VICTIMS
A Tampa man has been sentenced on charges he sold phony bonds, claiming the bonds carried a financial guarantee. The bonds were sold to over 200 people, primarily in the Tampa Bay area. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) announced that Ralph B. Plummer, 63, has been sentenced to 24 months in prison to be followed by 24 months of supervised release. He must also pay $7.7 million in restitution to the victims of the scam.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher praised the work of the OFR investigators who worked the case in conjunction with a variety of federal agencies. “We cannot allow those who perpetrate these scams to escape justice. Floridians who are lured into these phony investments need to know we will aggressively prosecute those who sold the bogus products.”
Plummer pled guilty to charges of securities, insurance and mail fraud in September 2003. The charges resulted from Plummer, as president of Financial Capital Company of America (FCCA), selling secured corporation notes to fund the construction of Christian vacation resorts in Tennessee.
FCCA misrepresented that it had $280 million in assets; however, it had actually rented T-bills and certificates of deposit but had no access to any cash from these vehicles. Plummer was brought in as a result of a joint OFR investigation with the U.S. Attorney's Office, the IRS, the FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service.
GALLAGHER TO PALM BAY TORNADO VICTIMS: STATE’S STORM HOTLINE READY TO ASSIST
Gallagher recommends that property owners take the following actions if they suffered tornado damage: