Florida Office of Financial Regulation

FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION APPLAUDS THE PASSAGE OF HOUSE BILL 217

04/30/2013

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 
 
Contact: OFR Office of Communications
 
FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION APPLAUDS THE PASSAGE OF HOUSE BILL 217
~Legislation allows state agencies to work together to fight fraud~
 
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) today commended the Florida Legislature for the passage of House Bill 217, which if signed into law, will require check cashers to log check cashing data into a statewide database designed to prevent fraudulent activity.
 
"It has been a pleasure working with the various stakeholders on this very important legislation that is long overdue,” said Representative Travis Cummings, sponsor of the bill.  “I am convinced that the use of technology via this real time database will significantly combat fraud that is currently costing our state roughly $1 billion annually."
 
The new legislation will require check cashers to log any checks cashed in excess of $1,000.  In addition to the check amount, each business will be required to submit traceable information such as payor, payee, fee charged, type of identification presented and payee’s workers’ compensation insurance policy number, if the check was made out to a business.  The bill also provides that multiple checks accepted from any one person in one day, which total $1,000 or more, must be aggregated and reported in the database.
 
“This legislation allows our state agencies to work together to prevent and fight fraud,” said OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear. “The new database will allow the OFR to efficiently and effectively track and investigate potential fraudulent activity with real time information from our partners at the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Department of State (DOS).”
 
This legislation is one of the recommendations from a workgroup convened by Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, to look at the complicated and organized premium avoidance scheme that is pervading the workers’ compensation insurance market.  In some cases, check cashing store owners are being used to accomplish this fraud. 
 
“This workgroup brought together all stakeholders to develop recommendations on how to clean up the industry,” said CFO Atwater. “I applaud the Florida Legislature for passing this bill and look forward to working with the OFR to prevent and prosecute fraudulent activity.”
 
The check cashing database created by this legislation will have the capability to interface with the Secretary of State’s database for purposes of verifying corporate registration and articles of incorporation.  The database will also have the capability to interface with the DFS database for purposes of determining proof of coverage for workers’ compensation. 
 
“Florida’s financial service centers have worked hard to help ensure passage of House Bill 217 to provide regulators with a real-time database of check cashing transactions,” said Corey Mathews, Executive Director of the Financial Service Centers of Florida.  “This critical tool will help law enforcement to identify and prosecute criminals who are attempting to invade the financial services industry.”
 
"Workers' Compensation fraud is a problem that negatively affects consumers and taxpayers every day," said James Banks, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the Florida Carpenters Regional Council.  "Florida's Carpenters applaud the steps the Legislature has taken to level the playing field in the construction industry by creating additional tools for our law enforcement community."
                                              # # #