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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

This week, we commemorated an infamous day in our  nation’s history. Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, marked 70 years since our nation was drawn into a world war that created our greatest generation. This generation saw Uncle Sam’s outstretched finger pointing at them and stepped up, making the tremendous sacrifices necessary to win the war.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt said in his speech to a frightened nation, "No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory." Although we don’t see this quote referenced very often, I believe it defines the American spirit and the determination and grit that are synonymous with that era.

When war was declared on Dec. 8, 1941, more than 250,000 Floridians signed up to serve in the U.S. military. We remember those who selflessly gave their lives and those who courageously defended our nation on that December day. The attack on Pearl Harbor, reminds us that the American resolve overcomes all in the face of tragedy and despair.

Wreath ceremony

Pictured: Wreaths Across America -
Ceremony of remembrance for fallen
comrades and first responders.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Learn to Write a Winning Business Plan

In honor of national Write a Business Plan Month, I encourage small business owners to take part in our four free webinars,  entitled “How to Write a Winning Business Plan,” that will be offered Dec. 12-15. Eighty Your Money Matter$percent of businesses do not have a business plan in place, and the Department of Financial Services is teaming up with Access Florida Financial and the Small Business Development Center to turn those statistics around.

Whether you already have a business plan, and especially if you don’t, small business owners or anyone who wants to become one should sign up for one of these free webinars. Each webinar will cover the elements of a winning business plan and tips for making yours stand out.

For registration and other logistical information, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/YMM.

News of Interest

Florida Tribune: State hires top cop to snuff out insurance fraud

Florida Trend: A new look at Florida's regulations

Associated Press: Florida's debt drops

Florida Today: As new facility opens, the sky's the limit for jetmaker Embraer

Florida Trend: Miami's billion-dollar real estate boom

South FLBusiness Journal: Miami-Dade approves incentives for 3 companies, 392 jobs

Miami Herald: Buyout firms expand and prosper in Florida

Daytona Beach News-Journal: Over-regulation stifles job creation

Jacksonville Business Journal: Jax logistics company makes Forbes 'most promising' list

Protecting Florida’s Consumers and Returning their Unclaimed Property

On Wednesday, a bill championed by CFO Atwater that will close a loophole that allows certain groups to obtain social security information from the Bureau of Unclaimed Property passed the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

Unclaimed PropertyRecent news reports have highlighted increasing trends in identity theft in Florida, and the state has a duty to protect Floridian’s social security numbers from any possible misuse.

CFO Atwater’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property has returned more than $197.11 million to Florida citizens and businesses since Jan. 1, 2011 - the most ever returned in one calendar year.

Law Enforcement Veteran to Lead the Division of Insurance FraudInsurance Fraud Badge

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Monday announced the appointment of law enforcement veteran and crime fighter Daniel S. Anderson as the new Director of the Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF). Anderson, a 25-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration with extensive experience in global criminal investigations and law enforcement coalition building, will be on the job next month.

“We are pleased to have a professional of Dan’s caliber join our team, and I know he will be a tremendous asset in our continuing fight to crackdown on fraudsters in Florida,” said CFO Atwater. “With auto insurance and workers’ compensation fraud schemes increasing the cost of living for our fellow Floridians, there is no more capable person to confront these challenges head-on, dismantle these schemes and put the criminals behind bars.”

Anderson began his law enforcement career in 1982 as a police officer in Broward County. He joined the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1986 as a Special Agent, where he served until his appointment as Director of DIF. During Anderson’s 25 years with the DEA, he has served in many high-level positions, including Instructor at the DEA Academy educating thousands of law enforcement personnel; Group Supervisor at DEA’s Norfolk, Va., Office; Unit Chief of Operations Management at DEA Headquarters; and, most recently, as the Associate Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s New York Field Division overseeing more than 800 employees.

Anderson will lead the Division of Insurance Fraud, which made nearly 1,000 insurance fraud-related arrests last fiscal year. He will be responsible for supervising 155 sworn law enforcement officers, managers and administrators, and 48 non-sworn civilian support staff members.

Anyone with information regarding suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Individuals who provide tips can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $250,000 to approximately 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program.

Fresh from Florida Christmas TreeFresh from Florida Tree

On Tuesday, my friend Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam brought our office good cheer, fresh from Florida. This year, our tree was graciously donated by Franco and Sigrid Camacho of the Bavarian Christmas Tree Farm in Tallahassee.

Franco and Sigrid moved from South Florida to Tallahassee with the dream to open a Christmas tree farm business. After 12 years, their business has grown and so have their trees! The Camacho’s farm sells Carolina Sapphire, Leyland Cypress, Red Cedar and Bavarian Cypress trees.

This year, I encourage all of you to support your local businesses and our state, and purchase a fresh from Florida Christmas tree.