Florida’s CFO takes aim at criminals trying to take advantage of veterans

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Scammers beware: Florida’s top officials are taking aim against anyone looking to take advantage of those who served our country.

“If you target our veterans, we’re going to make sure it’s treated just like a white-collar crime,” Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said Monday.

State Sen. Tom Wright and state Reps. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, Bobby Payne and Cord Byrd joined Patronis in announcing the Florida Veterans Protection Bill at the Five Star Veterans Center in Jacksonville.

The bill would create harsher penalties for scammers preying on veterans.

Patronis explained veterans are twice as likely to be victims of fraud.

“Especially if you look at an 18-year-old airman, this is their first time getting a significant paycheck, they’re independent, they’re on their own,” Patronis said. "At the same time, they’re defending our country. But that extra income they got with that type of liberation and freedom makes them a good target for scammers.

If passed by the Legislature next year, the bill will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2020.

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