My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

We work daily to fight insurance fraud in our state, and I often share with you stories about the cases we are working and the arrests we’ve made. Insurance fraud can take many forms and many of them can be complex and hard to understand. That’s why part of my job is to educate Floridians about these scams so that you can detect them and better protect yourself from falling prey to a fraudster or scam artist who may try to take from you.

Advocacy efforts are important, and it’s important to me to shed light on a problem that costs all of us hard-earned money each year in the form of higher insurance rates. Last year, nearly half of all the insurance fraud referrals our Division of Insurance Fraud received were about potential PIP (personal injury protection) fraud. PIP fraud often involves the staging of car accidents and subsequent medical treatment for phony injuries that allegedly occurred during A&E White Collar Crimethe staged crash. Fraud rings concoct these scams in order to submit insurance claims on PIP benefits that are included in motor vehicle insurance coverage.

This week, the television channel A&E brings PIP fraud to life during an episode of its newest show, American Takedown, which goes behind the scenes of some of America’s biggest criminal cases. The episode follows the breakdown of a large-scale PIP fraud case, and allows viewers an in-depth look at the inner workings of complex financial crime investigations.

The featured case, known as "Operation Cold Call," uncovered a network of attorneys, doctors and clinic employees who were engaged in recruiting, paying and treating "patients" for injuries that did not exist following staged car accidents. For more than a year, insurance fraud investigators worked undercover, embedded into the clinics that were accepting patients who were illegally solicited. To learn more about the case, read the Department’s case announcement here.

The show is set to air on A&E on Thursday, July 9, at 10 pm EST, and I hope that you will tune in. Check your local listings for channel information.

Please educate yourself and help me continue to stand against fraud. If you suspect insurance fraud, please report it by calling 1-800-378-0445. Reducing fraud will benefit us all.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

Tampa Bay Times: Florida to receive $3.25B from Gulf states' Deepwater Horizon settlement with BP

South Florida Sun Sentinel: Floridians more confident about their personal finances

Florida Times-Union: Florida TaxWatch foresees economic boom times for Jacksonville

USA Today: Job growth forecasts are bright for rest of 2015

Reuters: Construction spending hits new postrecession high

South Florida Sun Sentinel: Small-business loans surging in Florida

Tampa Bay Times: Think Tampa Bay's condo market is booming? You should see Miami's


Florida's Economic Innovation and Insight Florida's Bottom Line Archives

Florida’s Bottom Line is CFO Atwater’s quarterly economic magazine, providing insightful analysis on Florida's financial health and economic innovation. The FBL website offers Florida's financial news, data and resources, and includes past editions and special reports.

Since the fall of 2011, each issue of Florida's Bottom Line has provided a variety of in-depth reports on Florida's financial standing. Produced with support from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida and the Office of Economic and Demographic Research of the Florida Legislature, FBL's mission is to provide a one-stop shop for the latest news and valuable insight on Florida's economy and financial health.

From small business to financial transparency, FBL features a wide variety of topics with expert guest articles about the current state and future potential of these exciting fields.

Read our past editions in Florida's Bottom Line archives.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s total real personal income increased at a rate higher than the nation
Florida’s total real personal income increased by 1.1 percent in 2013, 0.3 percentage point higher than the national average of 0.8 percent. Personal income is the sum of net earnings by place of residence, property income, and personal current transfer receipts.
Source: Florida Bureau of Economic Analysis

U.S. unemployment rate drops in June
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped in June to 5.3 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than last month (5.5 percent), and 0.8 percentage point lower than June of 2014 (6.1 percent). June unemployment numbers are released for Florida on July 17th. In May, Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Stop Adult Financial Exploitation

Operation S.A.F.E.Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to help make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • The Psychology of a Scam
  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors
  • How to Fight Identity Theft
  • Resources to Keep You Safe

Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshop:

  • Wednesday, July 15th - The Villages
    10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    Savannah Regional Recreation Center
    1545 Buena Vista Boulevard, The Villages, Florida 32162
    Register | Directions | Flyer