CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrest of South Florida Man for Stealing More Than $78,000 in Public Assistance
Contact: Anna Alexopoulos
TALLAHASSEE - Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the arrest of Renell Peters, 30, of Fort Lauderdale for public assistance fraud. Peters, a former parent counselor with Family Central Inc. of Palm Beach County, falsified official records pertaining to subsidized child care services misappropriating $75,599 and received kickbacks of approximately $2,800 by doing so.
“Every dime of public assistance that is misappropriated is money stolen from families and children who truly need the services,” CFO Jeff Atwater said. “We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to crack down on fraud and hold the perpetrators accountable.”
An investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Public Assistance Fraud revealed that from August 2011 to April 2013 Peters, while employed at Family Central Inc., illegally approved and authorized child care services on 13 different cases in exchange for monetary kickbacks of up to $600 per case. Peters deliberately authorized ineligible households to received care ahead of families who were in real need of these services.
Peters was booked into the Broward County jail. He is charged with organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony and faces up to 30 years prison.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. 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.