The Economic Crimes Unit prosecutes the most serious frauds that inflict financial hardships on our community. Among the crimes prosecuted by this unit are investor frauds, real estate fraud, sales tax violations, identity theft and complex financial schemes. A special section of the unit is devoted to insurance fraud, which are crimes committed by individuals against insurance companies and by those licensed to practice insurance. The economic crimes unit is also responsible for the prosecution of financial elder abuse, which are those crimes committed when someone illegally or improperly uses a vulnerable senior’s money or other property.
A website offered by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Attorney General’s office is available to benefit those who may be a victim of identity theft.
This website, www.myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft, offers crucial information to victims of this crime. One of the components of the site contains instructions for initiating an identity theft claim. It also contains an “Identity Theft Victim Kit” to assist users in navigating through the process of rebuilding their good names.
The information offered is vital to those who may be a victim, but it also contains educational information regarding the far-reaching ramifications of the crime.
Identity theft is a third degree felony and defined as the illegal acquisition of personal information such as name, social security number, driver’s license, or bank/credit account number in order to engage in unlawful acts. The Economic Crimes Unit of the State Attorney’s office aggressively pursues identity theft prosecutions throughout the five-county circuit.
The Economic Crimes Unit tackles multi-faceted and complex fraud prosecutions against those who criminally inflict financial hardships on our communities here in Southwest Florida. Our Assistant State Attorneys and investigators, working closely with our local and statewide law enforcement partners, prosecute complicated investor fraud, illegal financial schemes, insurance fraud, real estate fraud, sales tax violations and identity theft.
Sadly, Florida has become a flashpoint for elder financial exploitation. In 2015, the Legislature redefined elder exploitation by increasing the scope of activities which constitute criminal activity. In response, our office was able to dedicate an additional prosecutor, investigator and victim advocate, housed within the ECU, to identify, investigate and prosecute these sensitive and complex crimes. Often encompassing elements of probate and guardianship law, our prosecutors have vigorously sought appropriate prison sentences against offenders and have successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution ultimately returned to our most vulnerable citizens.