DEO Press Releases

Senate Committee Supports DEO's Fraud Prevention Efforts in Reemployment Assistance Program

Feb 24, 2016

TALLAHASSEE - Today, the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development unanimously approved a bill to assist the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity detecting and prosecuting identity theft-based fraud. SB 1216, supported by DEO, aims to fight fraud in Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program.

Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, said, “Each year, thousands of fraudulent Reemployment Assistance claims are filed by criminals who use stolen identities to claim benefits worth hundreds of millions of dollars. This legislation will help DEO fight the organized criminal rings that are stealing assistance from those who truly need help.

“DEO is committed to fighting fraud in the Reemployment Assistance program and we are pleased that Senator Jack Latvala and the members of his committee are supportive of our efforts. We look forward to implementing stronger safeguards to protect the Reemployment Assistance program after the bill passes and thank the bill sponsors, Representative Mike La Rosa and Senator Kelli Stargel, for their leadership.”

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:

  • Creates 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.
  • Allows 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.
  • Increases penalties for those who fraudulently apply for benefits.
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