South Florida Tops Charts for Organized Fraud
Multiple reports and studies have found that the state of Florida, specifically South Florida, is number one in the country for various forms of organized fraud.
The Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County areas have been found over the last decade to have the highest numbers in organized fraud. The three big trends in this arena at the moment are Medicare fraud, mortgage fraud, and identity theft/tax refund fraud. However those three areas cover only a small amount of what agents and prosecutors look for when investigating fraud in the region. Organized fraud can also include fake medical procedures, fake lotteries, misleading food marketing, and insurance scams.
The Scope of Fraud
Fraud is an exceedingly far-reaching term, but because it is so broad, multiple agencies and departments investigate different types of fraud as part of their white collar crime investigations. The Federal Trade Commission ranked Florida first in the country for identity theft complaints at an average rate of 193 per 100,000 residents; the greater Miami area had an even higher rate of 340 per 100,000. The Treasury Department found South Florida has the highest number of false federal income tax returns filed – nearly 46 times the national average. Nationally, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration estimated more than 787,000 potentially undetected fraudulent tax returns were filed totaling more than $2.1 billion in refunds. The Departments of Justice, the Treasury, and Health & Human Services have banded together to form strike forces that investigate Medicare fraud. Nine regional offices exist, including a very busy one in South Florida. These agencies have charged more than 2,300 people with false Medicare billing and more than 1,500 of those were in the South Florida unit. With regards to mortgage fraud, the South Florida area was found to be number one in the country with 12.3 percent of loans originated being fraudulent.
Because so many agencies are finding South Florida to be a fraud hotspot, it means the entire area is open to extreme scrutiny. Individuals working in industries or owning businesses with high fraud rates must be extra vigilant and are at a higher risk of a possible investigation by state or federal authorities. Fraud rings can be exceedingly complicated and, especially in the cases of Medicare fraud, require a large number of people for the various steps.
If you think you need a lawyer, YOU DO. Call Now!
Are you looking for a skilled attorney who can help defend you against various types of fraud charges? Please contact Attorney Tony Moss at the Tony Moss Firm, L.L.C. to discuss these, or any white-collar defense matters. He has locations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and is prepared to put his 27 years of experience to work for you.