Today I met with my colleagues who work in the Economic Crimes Division, which is comprised of investigators, attorneys and administrative staff. This group of hardworking public servants is the enforcement authority for all multi-circuit violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The division protects consumers and legitimate businesses from those who engage in unfair methods of competition, or unconscionable, deceptive, or unfair acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce. Two of the division's major focuses are mortgage and foreclosure fraud, which are relevant to so many Americans.
Just this week, we sued a mortgage brokering company, Franklin First Financial, Ltd., alleging that two of its employees conducted a mortgage fraud scheme that siphoned fraudulently obtained loan proceeds. The lawsuit claims that the company illegally obtained approximately $5.2 million from 11 properties. Nine of the properties were located in Pinellas County and two were located in Walton County. According to the complaint, more than $2.2 million of the loan proceeds were paid to third parties chosen by Franklin First employees. The lawsuit seeks divestiture of the profits Franklin First made on these transactions as well as the monies that Franklin First allowed their employees to keep.
The lawsuit filed this week is just one example of the rigorous and relentless work that the Attorney General's Office does to protect Floridians from fraud and other unscrupulous activity. I thank the divisions for their hard work and promise that we will continue to protect Floridians.
I also want to wish all of the fathers, grandfathers and other father figures a wonderful Father's Day weekend.
Burglary Ring Arrested in South Florida
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Jacksonville Regional Operations Center and Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution arrested eight individuals involved in a high-end burglary ring that targeted jewelry stores and pawn shops in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Connecticut. For more details, read the full release.
Upholding the Constitution
Florida Supreme Court Upholds Florida Miranda Warnings by Law Enforcement
This week, Attorney General Pam Bondi announced significant victories in two opinions issued by the Florida Supreme Court in Rigterink v. State and State v. Powell reaffirming Florida's use of the Miranda warnings based upon the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution and upholding law enforcement's use of the Miranda warnings. These opinions were based on the United States Supreme Court decision Florida v. Powell in December 2010, which ruled in the state’s favor that law enforcement had adequately informed defendants of their rights to have counsel.
Governor and Cabinet Meeting on June 16
During this week’s meeting, the Governor and Cabinet heard many important issues, including an update on the Florida Retirement System and the fires that are burning throughout Florida. They voted to reappoint Tina Pate to the Florida Parole Commission and to ask for more candidates for the remaining vacancy. The composition of the Florida Parole Commission is critical to protecting Floridians and keeping dangerous criminal behind bars. The Attorney General initiated discussion on how online travel companies are taxed. The Department of Revenue will be presenting a possible process on how to address this matter at the next meeting of the Governor and Cabinet.