DEO Press Releases

House Appropriations Subcommittee Unanimously Approves Bill to Fight Identity Theft in Reemployment Assistance Program

Feb 09, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, the House Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations subcommittee unanimously approved HB 1017, which aims to fight fraud in Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program.

Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, said, “Enhancing protections for Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program will ensure that help is available for Floridians who truly need it. Criminals are constantly changing their tactics to steal information and wrongfully collect reemployment benefits. This critical bill will help DEO detect fraud early and prosecute the criminal rackets that are attempting to steal millions of dollars from our hardworking taxpayers.

“We are looking forward to continued support for this important legislation from the House and Senate. We are thankful for Chair Clay Ingram’s leadership today and for the commitment of the bill sponsors, Representative Mike La Rosa and Senator Kelli Stargel, to preserve the reemployment system for Floridians who truly need it.”

The legislation, titled the DEO Cybercrime Prevention Act, includes additional resources for DEO and legal authorizations to prevent and fight public benefits fraud in Florida, including:

  • Create a criminal investigations unit to focus on data analytics, utilize cutting-edge technology to investigate and build cases, and coordinate with local and federal law enforcement in a multi-faceted approach to fighting criminals who use identity theft to fraudulently file for reemployment assistance.
  • Allow access to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s DAVID System for photo identification from the driver’s license database to validate reemployment assistance claims.
  • Increase penalties for those who fraudulently apply for benefits.

Continue implementation of the highly successful FIRRE (Fraud Initiative and Rules Rating Engine) system. Since initial implementation in 2014, FIRRE has successfully detected more than 146,000 fraudulent claims and prevented payment of $603 million in potential fraudulent claims.

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