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CFO Jeff Atwater Helps Lead Fight to Combat Fraud Against Military Personnel

11/16/2011

Contact: Alexis Lambert 
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE— Fighting back for those who fight for us, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today participated in a roundtable with national and state leaders on military and veterans issues, including Holly Petraeus, Director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs, to find ways to combat fraud targeted against military personnel.
 
As part of  his Your Money Matter$ initiative, CFO Atwater has committed to improving  financial education for the more than 1.6 million veterans and 58,000 active duty military stationed in Florida.  Today’s roundtable, held at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, focused on scams, predatory lending products, housing issues, financial education, payday loans and car buying schemes targeting military personnel and veterans.
 
“Our military service members commit themselves to protecting and securing our freedom,” said CFO Atwater. “Today, we gathered with a team of experts to ensure that here, in Florida, we are making the same commitment to them by helping protect them from fraud and scams.”
 
Attorney General Pam Bondi, United States Attorney Robert O’Neill for the Middle District of Florida and other experts on military affairs also participated in today’s roundtable.
 
During the meeting, CFO Atwater noted that there is typically a strip of businesses located outside the gates of military installations filled with buy-here-and-pay-here car dealers, check cashing and payday loan operations, rent to own companies, and pawn shops targeting service members and veterans.  Further, many lenders will use a business name that sounds military-affiliated to make service members think the company is catering to the military.
 
CFO Atwater’s Your Money Matter$ initiative includes online financial tools and information at www.MyFloridaCFO.com to guide Floridians in making sound financial decisions.  Service members are encouraged to use these resources to help manage and reduce debt, and save money, thereby ensuring personal financial readiness.
 
Earlier this month, CFO Atwater’s Division of Consumer Services provided free training to senior military personnel at Naval Air Station Pensacola to prepare officers to help enlisted personnel with financial and insurance questions.
 
For additional information on the Your Money Matter$ initiative, or for financial tips and online education, visit the Department of Financial Services’ Web site at www.MyFloridaCFO.com or call 1-877-My-FL-CFO.
 
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services including the Division of Insurance Fraud.  CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.