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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

This week, I announced the arrests of three individuals in unrelated but similar PIP fraud investigations in Miami. Chiropractor David Louis Hirschenson, 55, was arrested for illegally soliciting accident victims and obtaining vehicle crash reports. Nester Sanchez, 39, and Chakira Vila Puentes, 45, owners of C & N Therapy Center, were arrested for insurance fraud and grand theft. I also announced the conviction of Yarden Lee Bracero, 39, a former Allstate employee in Jacksonville for diverting claims payments for her own personal use. DFS Division of Insurance Fraud Badge

Fraud schemes like these impact Floridians throughout the state by driving up our insurance rates. I am proud of our investigators whose hard work helped bring these fraudsters to justice, but the fight against fraud remains an ongoing battle that requires our steadfast commitment. In the first nine months of 2013, we have made 1,200 arrests related to fraud. That’s a 17 percent increase from calendar year 2012, which saw 1,024 arrests.

Anyone who suspects 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 nearly $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.

For more information about fraud and consumer protection, visit

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Sun-Sentinel: South Florida economy grew faster than U.S. average

CBS 4 Miami: Claiming what’s yours: locating unclaimed money

Sun-Sentinel: Coral Springs firm offers loans to mom and pops

CFO Atwater Offers ‘Paying for College: Controlling Your Degree of Debt’ Webinar

In honor of College Savings Month in September, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced that the Department of Financial Services is teaming up for a second year with the Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (FASFAA) to offer a free webinar entitled “Paying for College: Controlling Your Degree of Debt.” As financial aid application deadlines are fast approaching, this webinar will provide valuable information on the variety of financial aid programs that can minimize college debt.

Your Money Matters“It is very important to our students and the well-being of our economy that higher education becomes more affordable,” said CFO Atwater. “As a society, it is our responsibility to provide these young adults with all of the resources available to ensure their success.”

The next webinars are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 30th and 8:30 a.m. on October 2nd. The webinars will provide information about the variety of financial aid programs available, how financial need is determined, how to calculate the true cost of education and how to complete all the steps in the financial aid application process.Laptop with diploma image

For more information or to register for a “Paying for College: Controlling Your Degree of Debt” webinar, visit or call the Division of Consumer Services helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236).

This webinar is offered as part of CFO Atwater’s Your Money Matters initiative to help Floridians secure a firm financial foundation. This program provides important financial information and resources to inspire all Floridians to take charge of their financial future.

Innovation Drives Florida's Economy

Florida has worked hard to create an environment for long-term growth and investment that allows businesses to better serve their communities and employ more of their neighbors. This culture of economic innovation has helped Florida Florida's Bottom Line be recognized as the “Most Innovative State in the Nation” by Fast Company magazine this year.

Beginning with its edition on biotechnology, Florida’s Bottom Line is presenting a three-part series on Innovative Florida, highlighting the people and industries that are driving our future as a diversified economy. We are now recognized as one of the most attractive areas worldwide for the biotechnology industry, with more than 200 biotechnology companies calling Florida home.

The quarterly edition of Florida's Bottom Line is complemented by its often-updated website, 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.