Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 359 • Sept. 22, 2017
Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing



Photos courtesy of The Florida Channel

Many Florida communities are trying to rebuild after Hurricane Irma ripped through their counties. Irma uprooted trees, destroyed homes and flooded streets—damaging vital infrastructure. In some cases, debris is making it impossible for utility workers to gain access to areas to restore power and causing other access issues. City and county leaders are trying desperately to remove this debris but are running into issues with their contractors prioritizing other, more lucrative jobs or demanding higher rates.

When I learned about this vital public safety issue, I immediately began working with Governor Rick Scott, emergency managers and city and county leaders to help find a solution. My staff is currently reviewing contracts that have been provided by some cities and counties to determine if any of the contractors are violating the law.

This is not an aesthetic issue. Debris removal is vital to restoring Florida communities after this devastating storm.

That is why I am calling on these companies to honor their promises to Floridians and do their jobs when they are needed most. Exploiting this crisis at taxpayers’ expense is outrageous and will not be tolerated. I am working closely with the Governor and city and county leaders to ensure contracts are honored and communities restored.

Regardless of whether something is unlawful, this is a morality issue impacting fellow Floridians in a time of need.

In the News
Florida joins other states seeking marketing information from opioid makers, Tampa Bay Times
Florida, 40 other states investigate opioid makers, News 13

5 Broward County lawyers arrested in 19-month car accident insurance scheme, Palm Beach Post

Looks like there’s a bidding war for Irma debris removal. South Florida is winning., Miami Herald

Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi Call Out Debris Removal Contractors, Space Coast Daily


Protecting Floridians
Attorney General Bondi and Multistate Working Group Demand Answers from Opioid Industry Regarding Marketing Practices

Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that Florida, as part of a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general, is demanding information from major manufacturers and distributors of opioids. The demands seek additional information about potentially unlawful practices in the distribution, marketing and sale of opioids. The demands are the result of an ongoing, coordinated multistate effort by 41 states. Florida is one of six states leading the widespread investigation.

“Florida citizens continue to become addicted to opioids and die daily—meanwhile, prescription drug manufacturers, distributors and the medical profession all point fingers at each other as the cause of this national crisis,” said Attorney General Bondi. “This far-reaching multistate investigation is designed to get the answers we need as quickly as possible. The industry must do the right thing. If they do not, we are prepared to litigate.” More.



Attorney General Bondi Asks Equifax to Do More to Protect Consumers Affected by Data Breach

Attorney General Pam Bondi joined 33 other attorneys general to send a letter to Equifax, Inc., a national credit reporting bureau, regarding the company’s massive data breach. The breach exposed the personal information of nearly half the consumers residing in the United States and its territories, 143 million consumers.

In the letter, the attorneys general express concern about, among other things, Equifax’s offer to sell consumers a fee-based service while at the same time providing free credit monitoring services. The objection is that Equifax is seemingly using its own data breach as an opportunity to sell services. The Attorney General wants to protect consumers who are victims of this breach from being marketed additional services as they struggle to protect themselves from identity theft.
More.

10 Arrested in Patient Brokering Scheme

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Department of Financial Services, National Insurance Crime Bureau announced the arrests of five South Florida attorneys and five of their accomplices for a patient brokering scheme. According to the investigation, the defendants illegally gained more than half a million dollars in kickbacks.

These personal injury attorneys allegedly paid individuals to unlawfully solicit unsuspecting vehicle accident victims to make insurance claims for loss and damage, or claims for personal injury protection benefits. The attorneys paid the solicitors $500 to $1,500 per client successfully referred. According to the investigation, the attorneys referred the accident victims to a healthcare facility in exchange for a cash kickback of $1,500 to $2,500 per patient.
More.






Events
Attorney General Pam Bondi participating in the Concordia summit discussing human trafficking and other issues with leaders from throughout the world.







Attorney General Bondi visiting with Matthew Swift, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of the Concordia Summit.










































On a very sad and personal note, I want to thank everyone for being so kind to Luke—my nine-year-old Saint Bernard. He went to dog heaven late this afternoon.