With the 2012 Legislative Session ending today, I commend the Legislature for passing legislation that increases public safety and consumer protection for Floridians. This legislative session, I supported bills that: create a task force to study the growing problem of prescription drug-addicted newborns; strengthen criminal penalties for human trafficking; ban new forms of synthetic drugs; and increase consumer protections governing timeshare resales. The Legislature has given us much-needed tools to protect our citizens’ physical and financial safety.
My priorities included the following bills:
- Statewide Task Force on Prescription Drug Abuse and Newborns (SB 402/HB 227) –The task force will be charged with examining the scope of neo-natal withdrawal syndrome, the costs associated with caring for babies, the long term effects of, and strategies for preventing prescription drug abuse by expectant mothers. The task force legislation was sponsored by Senator Joe Negron and Representative Kelli Stargel.
- Human Trafficking (SB 1880/HB 7049) –The bill increases criminal penalties against those who engage in human trafficking and provides the Office of Statewide Prosecution with jurisdiction to pursue human trafficking cases. The human trafficking legislation was sponsored by Senator Anitere Flores and Representative William Snyder.
- Synthetic Drugs (SB 1502/HB 1175) –Following last year’s “bath salts” bill, this bill adds new forms of synthetic marijuana and stimulants to the list of controlled substances that are illegal under Florida law. The synthetic drugs legislation was sponsored by Senator Greg Evers and Representative Clay Ingram.
I am continually working to make Florida a safer and better place to live.
- Timeshare Resale Fraud (SB 1408/HB 1001) –The bill gives the Attorney General’s office more enforcement tools to pursue timeshare resale companies engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices.Examples of the provisions that the Legislature passed to prevent common misrepresentations include: prohibitions of misrepresenting a pre-existing interest in the owner’s timeshare and misleading costumers about the success rate of the advertiser’s sales; stringent cancellation, refund and disclosure requirements; and a penalty not to exceed $15,000 per violation.This legislation was sponsored by Senator Andy Gardiner and Representative Eric Eisnaugle. This legislation was sponsored by Senator Andy Gardiner and Representative Eric Eisnaugle.
Attorney General Pam Bondi Urges Spring Break Vacationers to Stay Away from Synthetic Drugs Marketed as “Incense,” “Potpourri,” and “Bath Salts”
With spring break season here, Attorney General Pam Bondi warns vacationers to stay away from dangerous synthetic drugs that are marketed as “incense,” “potpourri,” “K2,” and “bath salts.” The cocaine-like drug, known as "bath salts," and the marijuana-like drug, known as "K2," can cause users to suffer paranoia, tremors, seizures, psychotic episodes, and more. Many of these drugs are currently outlawed, and there is legislation this legislative session that will ban new forms of these synthetic drugs. Click here to read more.
Attorney General Bondi Obtains $570,000 in Restitution for Consumers of United Marketing Group
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that her office has obtained $570,000 for consumers in an agreement with United Marketing Group (UMG), an Illinois based company that promotes club memberships online and through telemarketing. The settlement ends an investigation into whether the company was clearly informing consumers of the terms of UMG’s club membership agreements. In addition to providing for restitution, the agreement states that UMG is required to make clear in its promotional materials that accepting the company's promotional offers may result in consumers being enrolled in membership clubs. The agreement also prohibits UMG from telling consumers seeking refunds that refunds are not available. Click here to read more.
Attorney General Bondi Obtains Consumer Refunds from Home-Alarm Company for Floridians
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that Pinnacle Security, a Utah-based home-alarm company, will reform its business practices and compensate Florida consumers, many of whom are seniors, for high-pressure sales tactics. Under the agreement, Pinnacle will offer refunds to customers who were misled about Pinnacle's relationship with other security companies or the cost of its services. Additionally, customers who could not get defective Pinnacle equipment repaired promptly or were overcharged when they cancelled their Pinnacle contracts will be offered compensation. Pinnacle will also make a charitable contribution of $25,000 to Seniors vs. Crime, a project set up by the Attorney General in which elderly Floridians help each other and the authorities fight criminal activity. Click here to read more.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office Sues Timeshare Resale Fraud Company and Seeks Restitution for Consumers
Attorney General Bondi announced that her office has filed a lawsuit against TS Luxury Group, Inc., a timeshare resale fraud company, and its owner, Mary Filocomo. According to the lawsuit, TS Luxury and its principal engaged in a systematic pattern of conduct designed and intended to induce consumers to pay the defendants an up-front fee for timeshare resale services via a series of false and fraudulent misrepresentations. The Attorney General’s Office is seeking more than $550,000 in restitution for consumers, and ultimately a permanent injunction prohibiting TS Luxury and Filocomo from engaging in similar business practices. Click here to read more.
Attorney General Pam Bondi Announces Lawsuits and Arrests Against Timeshare Resale Fraud Companies and Owners
Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that her office has partnered with the Delray Beach Police Department to arrest two individuals for illegal activity related to timeshare resale fraud and that she has sued the individuals and the timeshare resale companies.
The lawsuit is filed against William Clarke, P.A., and its owner, Gerald W. Clarke; and Provident Choice, LLC, and its owner, Nicholas Paul. The Delray Beach Police Department assisted with the investigation into William Clark, P.A., and Provident Choice, LLC, and they arrested Gerald Clarke and Nicholas Paul. Click here to read more.
Attorney General Pam Bondi Recovers More than $41 Million for Consumers During First Year in Office
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that her office has recovered more than $41 million for consumers during her first year in office. Attorney General Bondi has aggressively fought to defend consumers’ rights, to return money to harmed consumers, and to hold businesses and individuals accountable for fraudulent activity. In addition to the recent $8.4 billion agreement with five of the nation’s largest mortgage services for alleged foreclosure misconduct, consumer protection initiatives have ranged from negative options to travel scams and from timeshare resale fraud to unfair debt collection practices. This Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Bondi has encouraged Floridians to visit MyFloridaLegal.com to learn how to better protect themselves and to report fraud. Click here to read more.
On Thursday, Attorney General Bondi spoke at the 12th Annual Ambassadors for Aging Day, sponsored by the Department of Elder Affairs. Attorney General Bondi shared how her office is involved in protecting seniors from fraud.
On Friday, Attorney General Bondi had the pleasure of meeting with a group of fourth graders from Master's Academy from Oviedo in Seminole County as well as a group of Senate Pages.