February 17, 2010
CFO SINK'S STATEWIDE FIGHT FOR TOUGHER LAWS DRAWS HUNDREDS OF SENIORS
TALLAHASSEE-Florida CFO Alex Sink's statewide "Safeguard Our Seniors" blitz last week drew 350 seniors to workshops and led to new investigations into senior investor fraud. Partnering with AARP Florida, Veterans Affairs, and the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar, CFO Sink held public workshops in eleven Florida cities to draw attention to the need for tougher laws that will hold those who prey on Florida's seniors accountable.
"We need tougher laws on the books, but unfortunately some politicians in Tallahassee have been protecting the special interests, not our seniors'' interests," said CFO Sink. "As we heard from the hundreds of Florida seniors we met with in the last week, senior investors are losing their life savings, deceitful agents are operating undeterred, and it's time to take action. Nothing should stand in the way of these senior scammers accountable for their actions, especially not the special interests and unresponsive politicians."
For the third year in a row, CFO Sink has proposed Safeguard Our Seniors legislation to strengthen senior investor fraud laws. Senator Mike Bennett and Representative Maria Sachs have sponsored the 2010 legislation (SB 844), which comes after another 277 complaints from seniors just about annuity fraud in the last year. During the 2009 session, CFO Sink's Safeguard Our Seniors legislation passed the Florida Senate unanimously, but was not heard in a House Committee. This year's legislation has already passed its first Senate committee.
In the last two years, CFO Sink's Department of Financial Services has held nearly 400 "Safeguard Our Seniors" workshops throughout the state, including eleven last week as part of a statewide workshop blitz. At the workshops, seniors are informed about how to protect themselves from financial fraud. The programs have helped Florida seniors recover nearly $9 million, and helped put some senior scammers behind bars.
Representatives from the Safeguard Our Seniors Task Force partnered with CFO Sink to put on the statewide Safeguard Our Seniors blitz, and commended CFO Sink's work to protect seniors:
AARP Florida State Director Lori Parham: "As Florida works to re-energize its economy, it is important to assure older Floridians that the Sunshine State will crack down hard on those who threaten their financial security. AARP is pleased that this week's activities have heightened awareness of the risks of financial fraud."
Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs Executive Director LeRoy Collins Jr.: "The Sunshine State is home to nearly 750,000 veterans who are 65 or over. In combating financial fraud, Florida's veterans are well served by the advice and counsel offered by CFO Sink's Safeguard Our Seniors Task Force."
Jana McConnaughhay, secretary, Florida Bar Elder Law Section: "The members of the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar, which represents thousands of Florida seniors each year, witness exploitation of this vulnerable group on a daily basis. We are incredibly appreciative of CFO Sink's efforts to add teeth to the laws protecting seniors and support those efforts completely."
To learn more about CFO Sink's Safeguard Our Seniors Task Force, learn what to consider when purchasing annuities, or read the stories of senior victims, please visit www.flseniors.net. Floridians who believe they may have been the victim of annuity fraud should call (850) 413-3089 or toll-free at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877- 693-5236) or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com to file a complaint.