Florida Senate - 2016                                    SB 1216
       By Senator Stargel
       15-01190A-16                                          20161216__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to reemployment assistance fraud;
    3         providing a short title; amending s. 20.60, F.S.;
    4         authorizing the Department of Economic Opportunity to
    5         employ law enforcement officers to investigate
    6         violations of ch. 443, F.S.; providing qualifications
    7         for employment or appointment as a law enforcement
    8         officer; specifying the responsibilities of such a law
    9         enforcement officer; amending s. 322.142, F.S.; adding
   10         the department as an entity that may be issued
   11         reproductions from certain files or digital records
   12         for specified reasons; amending s. 443.101, F.S.;
   13         providing for disqualification from eligibility for
   14         reemployment benefits for a specified period of time
   15         determined by the number of incidents of false or
   16         fraudulent representation and date of repayment of
   17         certain overpayments; amending s. 443.151, F.S.;
   18         providing methods for the department to collect
   19         repayment of benefits; amending s. 895.02, F.S.;
   20         expanding the definition of the term “racketeering
   21         activity” to include knowingly making false statements
   22         or representations or knowingly failing to disclose a
   23         material fact to obtain or increase benefits or other
   24         payments under ch. 443, F.S., and other specified
   25         laws; providing an effective date.
   27         WHEREAS, the incidence of identity theft and resulting
   28  fraud has reached a crisis level, and
   29         WHEREAS, identity theft is especially problematic in this
   30  state, which the Federal Trade Commission reports has the
   31  highest per capita rate of identity theft in the nation, and
   32         WHEREAS, stolen identities are used to commit an ever
   33  expanding range of fraud, including public assistance fraud, and
   34         WHEREAS, identity theft and related fraud harm those whose
   35  identities are stolen, rob the social safety net of precious
   36  resources, impose unwarranted costs on taxpayers, and undermine
   37  public confidence in government, and
   38         WHEREAS, the Department of Economic Opportunity’s efforts
   39  to detect, prevent, and prosecute fraud have revealed that
   40  thousands of fraudulent claims for reemployment assistance are
   41  being filed, and
   42         WHEREAS, the Department of Economic Opportunity has made
   43  prevention, detection, and prosecution of reemployment
   44  assistance fraud a top priority and has identified additional
   45  resources and tools necessary to effectively combat fraud, NOW,
   48  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   50         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Department of
   51  Economic Opportunity Cybercrime Prevention Act.”
   52         Section 2. Paragraph (d) is added to subsection (5) of
   53  section 20.60, Florida Statutes, to read:
   54         20.60 Department of Economic Opportunity; creation; powers
   55  and duties.—
   56         (5) The divisions within the department have specific
   57  responsibilities to achieve the duties, responsibilities, and
   58  goals of the department. Specifically:
   59         (d)The Division of Workforce Services may employ law
   60  enforcement officers. Each law enforcement officer employed by
   61  the division must meet the requirements for employment or
   62  appointment as a law enforcement officer specified in s. 943.13
   63  and must be certified under chapter 943 as a law enforcement
   64  officer by the Department of Law Enforcement. Each law
   65  enforcement officer has statewide jurisdiction and authority
   66  granted by chapter 901.
   67         1.The primary responsibility of each law enforcement
   68  officer appointed under this section is the statewide
   69  investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of violations of
   70  chapter 443 and rules adopted thereunder, as well as other state
   71  laws that the division is specifically authorized to enforce.
   72         2.The secondary responsibility of each law enforcement
   73  officer appointed under this section is to enforce all other
   74  state laws; however, such enforcement must be incidental to the
   75  officer’s exercise of his or her primary responsibility, and an
   76  officer may exercise the powers of a deputy sheriff only after
   77  consultation or coordination with the appropriate local
   78  sheriff’s office or municipal police department or when the
   79  division participates in the Florida Mutual Aid Plan during a
   80  declared state emergency.
   81         Section 3. Present paragraphs (k) and (l) of subsection (4)
   82  of section 322.142, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as
   83  paragraphs (l) and (m), respectively, and a new paragraph (k) is
   84  added to that subsection, to read:
   85         322.142 Color photographic or digital imaged licenses.—
   86         (4) The department may maintain a film negative or print
   87  file. The department shall maintain a record of the digital
   88  image and signature of the licensees, together with other data
   89  required by the department for identification and retrieval.
   90  Reproductions from the file or digital record are exempt from
   91  the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and may be made and issued only:
   92         (k) To the Department of Economic Opportunity pursuant to
   93  an interagency agreement to facilitate the validation of
   94  reemployment assistance claims and the identification of
   95  fraudulent or false reemployment assistance claims.
   96         Section 4. Subsection (6) of section 443.101, Florida
   97  Statutes, is amended to read:
   98         443.101 Disqualification for benefits.—An individual shall
   99  be disqualified for benefits:
  100         (6) For making any false or fraudulent representation for
  101  the purpose of obtaining benefits contrary to this chapter,
  102  constituting a violation under s. 443.071. The disqualification
  103  imposed under this subsection begins shall begin with the week
  104  in which the false or fraudulent representation is made and
  105  continues shall continue for a period of:
  106         (a) Five years not to exceed 1 year after the date the
  107  Department of Economic Opportunity discovers the first incident
  108  of false or fraudulent representation and until any overpayment
  109  of benefits resulting from such representation has been repaid
  110  in full.
  111         (b)Ten years after the date the Department of Economic
  112  Opportunity discovers the second incident of false or fraudulent
  113  representation, which must occur in a benefit year other than
  114  the benefit year of the first incident, and until any
  115  overpayment of benefits resulting from such representation has
  116  been repaid in full.
  117         (c) The lifetime of the individual after the date the
  118  Department of Economic Opportunity discovers the third incident
  119  of false or fraudulent representation, which must occur in a
  120  benefit year that is not the benefit year of the first or second
  121  incident.
  123  This disqualification may be appealed in the same manner as any
  124  other disqualification imposed under this section. A conviction
  125  by any court of competent jurisdiction in this state of the
  126  offense prohibited or punished by s. 443.071 is conclusive upon
  127  the appeals referee and the commission of the making of the
  128  false or fraudulent representation for which disqualification is
  129  imposed under this section.
  130         Section 5. Paragraph (e) of subsection (6) of section
  131  443.151, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  132         443.151 Procedure concerning claims.—
  133         (6) RECOVERY AND RECOUPMENT.—
  134         (e) The department shall collect the repayment of benefits
  135  without interest by any of the following methods: the deduction
  136  of benefits through a redetermination or by a civil action.
  137         1.The deduction of reemployment assistance benefits
  138  through a redetermination.
  139         2.The recovery of overpayments through attachment and
  140  garnishment as provided in chapters 76 and 77. An overpayment
  141  determination, decision, or order issued by the department or
  142  commission which has become final as provided in this section
  143  may be enforced by attachment or garnishment in the same manner
  144  as a judgment of any court of competent jurisdiction as provided
  145  in chapters 76 and 77 for a debt due. Upon application to the
  146  clerk of court by the department, a writ shall be issued by the
  147  clerk of court as upon a judgment of the court duly docketed and
  148  recorded. These writs must be returnable to the court. A bond
  149  may not be required of the department as a condition for the
  150  issuance of a writ of attachment or a writ of garnishment.
  151  Issues raised under proceedings by attachment or garnishment
  152  must be tried by the court in the same manner as a judgment
  153  under chapters 76 and 77. Venue for attachment and garnishment
  154  proceedings originating under this section is in Leon County.
  155         3. Any additional recovery method provided for by law.
  156         Section 6. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
  157  895.02, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  158         895.02 Definitions.—As used in ss. 895.01-895.08, the term:
  159         (1) “Racketeering activity” means to commit, to attempt to
  160  commit, to conspire to commit, or to solicit, coerce, or
  161  intimidate another person to commit:
  162         (a) Any crime that is chargeable by petition, indictment,
  163  or information under the following provisions of the Florida
  164  Statutes:
  165         1. Section 210.18, relating to evasion of payment of
  166  cigarette taxes.
  167         2. Section 316.1935, relating to fleeing or attempting to
  168  elude a law enforcement officer and aggravated fleeing or
  169  eluding.
  170         3. Section 403.727(3)(b), relating to environmental
  171  control.
  172         4. Section 409.920 or s. 409.9201, relating to Medicaid
  173  fraud.
  174         5. Section 414.39, relating to public assistance fraud.
  175         6. Section 440.105 or s. 440.106, relating to workers’
  176  compensation.
  177         7. Section 443.071(1) or (4) Section 443.071(4), relating
  178  to creation of a fictitious employer scheme to commit
  179  reemployment assistance fraud.
  180         8. Section 465.0161, relating to distribution of medicinal
  181  drugs without a permit as an Internet pharmacy.
  182         9. Section 499.0051, relating to crimes involving
  183  contraband and adulterated drugs.
  184         10. Part IV of chapter 501, relating to telemarketing.
  185         11. Chapter 517, relating to sale of securities and
  186  investor protection.
  187         12. Section 550.235 or s. 550.3551, relating to dogracing
  188  and horseracing.
  189         13. Chapter 550, relating to jai alai frontons.
  190         14. Section 551.109, relating to slot machine gaming.
  191         15. Chapter 552, relating to the manufacture, distribution,
  192  and use of explosives.
  193         16. Chapter 560, relating to money transmitters, if the
  194  violation is punishable as a felony.
  195         17. Chapter 562, relating to beverage law enforcement.
  196         18. Section 624.401, relating to transacting insurance
  197  without a certificate of authority, s. 624.437(4)(c)1., relating
  198  to operating an unauthorized multiple-employer welfare
  199  arrangement, or s. 626.902(1)(b), relating to representing or
  200  aiding an unauthorized insurer.
  201         19. Section 655.50, relating to reports of currency
  202  transactions, when such violation is punishable as a felony.
  203         20. Chapter 687, relating to interest and usurious
  204  practices.
  205         21. Section 721.08, s. 721.09, or s. 721.13, relating to
  206  real estate timeshare plans.
  207         22. Section 775.13(5)(b), relating to registration of
  208  persons found to have committed any offense for the purpose of
  209  benefiting, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal
  210  gang.
  211         23. Section 777.03, relating to commission of crimes by
  212  accessories after the fact.
  213         24. Chapter 782, relating to homicide.
  214         25. Chapter 784, relating to assault and battery.
  215         26. Chapter 787, relating to kidnapping or human
  216  trafficking.
  217         27. Chapter 790, relating to weapons and firearms.
  218         28. Chapter 794, relating to sexual battery, but only if
  219  such crime was committed with the intent to benefit, promote, or
  220  further the interests of a criminal gang, or for the purpose of
  221  increasing a criminal gang member’s own standing or position
  222  within a criminal gang.
  223         29. Former s. 796.03, former s. 796.035, s. 796.04, s.
  224  796.05, or s. 796.07, relating to prostitution.
  225         30. Chapter 806, relating to arson and criminal mischief.
  226         31. Chapter 810, relating to burglary and trespass.
  227         32. Chapter 812, relating to theft, robbery, and related
  228  crimes.
  229         33. Chapter 815, relating to computer-related crimes.
  230         34. Chapter 817, relating to fraudulent practices, false
  231  pretenses, fraud generally, and credit card crimes.
  232         35. Chapter 825, relating to abuse, neglect, or
  233  exploitation of an elderly person or disabled adult.
  234         36. Section 827.071, relating to commercial sexual
  235  exploitation of children.
  236         37. Section 828.122, relating to fighting or baiting
  237  animals.
  238         38. Chapter 831, relating to forgery and counterfeiting.
  239         39. Chapter 832, relating to issuance of worthless checks
  240  and drafts.
  241         40. Section 836.05, relating to extortion.
  242         41. Chapter 837, relating to perjury.
  243         42. Chapter 838, relating to bribery and misuse of public
  244  office.
  245         43. Chapter 843, relating to obstruction of justice.
  246         44. Section 847.011, s. 847.012, s. 847.013, s. 847.06, or
  247  s. 847.07, relating to obscene literature and profanity.
  248         45. Chapter 849, relating to gambling, lottery, gambling or
  249  gaming devices, slot machines, or any of the provisions within
  250  that chapter.
  251         46. Chapter 874, relating to criminal gangs.
  252         47. Chapter 893, relating to drug abuse prevention and
  253  control.
  254         48. Chapter 896, relating to offenses related to financial
  255  transactions.
  256         49. Sections 914.22 and 914.23, relating to tampering with
  257  or harassing a witness, victim, or informant, and retaliation
  258  against a witness, victim, or informant.
  259         50. Sections 918.12 and 918.13, relating to tampering with
  260  jurors and evidence.
  261         Section 7. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.