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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

In my capacity as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer I have the honor of serving as Florida’s State Fire Marshal. During my time in this role, I have come to see first-hand the importance of fire prevention education. To help promote the importance of such education, Resolution for Fire Prevention Week at Cabinet.I presented a resolution at this week’s Cabinet meeting designating October 7 to 13 as Fire Prevention Week in Florida.

The theme of the nation’s corresponding Fire Prevention Week is “Prevent Kitchen Fires!” Cooking is one of the leading causes of home Fire Prevention Week - Prevent Kitchen Firesfires in Florida, making our homes the place where we are at the greatest risk of fire. In 2012, fire departments across our state responded to more than 4,000 fires with two out of every five home fires beginning in the kitchen.

My message this week is simple—use caution and remain alert while cooking to reduce the risk of fire. Accidents happen, but it starts with personal responsibility and we are all responsible for working to keep those we love safe from harm.

The importance of our fire prevention message is magnified by today’s memorial event at the State Fire College in Ocala, where eight more names will be added to the Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wall. By doing our part to prevent fires, we can help reduce the risks to our dedicated firefighters who risk their lives every day to protect us.

To learn more about the State Fire Marshal’s Office and what you can do to protect your family against fire, I encourage you to visit www.myfloridacfo.com/division/sfm/.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

South Florida Business Journal: America's Best Small Companies lists two in South Florida

Jacksonville Business Journal: Florida’s leading indicator up again

Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald: Homeowners can challenge flood insurance rates

Tampa Bay Times: Report shows Florida's job creation improves in September

Florida Trend: Thinking out loud: Florida's think tanks

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Florida on pace for 100 million visitors

Forbes: Franchising Sizzles In Wake Of Downturn

Insurance Fraud Arrest Made in Fake Carjacking

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Thursday announced the arrest of Orlando Robles-Santana, 40, for allegedly claiming he was carjacked and then filing a fraudulent insurance claim for reimbursement of the car’s value.

“Auto insurance fraud drives up rates for all Floridians,” said CFO Atwater, “We will not stand by and let individuals like this steal the hard-earned money of honest Floridians.”

An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud was initiated using information compiled by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The investigation revealed that Robles-Santana reported his 2004 Jaguar sedan stolen after a supposed carjacking by two men in a pickup truck. He then filed a theft report and insurance claim for reimbursement of full value of the vehicle.

Nearly a year later, sheriff’s deputies found the vehicle during a routine inspection of a local salvage yard. The owner of the business explained that he knew Robles-Santana personally and he had asked him to watch after the vehicle while he was out of the country.

Robles-Santana was booked into the Duval County Jail awaiting bond. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison.

Anyone with information involving suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $342,000 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.

Florida Economic Briefs

Business Taxes

Florida ranks fifth out of 50 states in the Tax Foundation’s 2014 edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index. Business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers use the index to gauge how the states’ tax systems compare. Business taxes affect business decisions, job creation and retention, plant location, competitiveness, the transparency of the tax system, and the long-term health of a state’s economy.

Foreclosure Activity

Foreclosure activity slowed in September – down six points from August. The number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in FloridaFlorida's Bottom Line website was 22 percent lower than the same time last year.

Florida's Bottom Line website complements the quarterly edition of the Florida's Bottom Line newsletter. 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 financially.