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Two Florida Sheriffs Appointed to Fraud “Strike Force”

February 09, 2011

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric L. Bradshaw and Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee have been appointed to the to Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force, chaired by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Attorney General Pam Bondi serves as Vice-Chair for the 11-member group.

The Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force was created during the 2010 Legislative Session to increase the effectiveness of programs and initiatives that work to prevent, detect and prosecute Medicaid and public assistance fraud.

For more than a decade, Medicaid has been the fastest growing item in many state budgets. Florida’s Medicaid program accounts for 25 percent, or approximately $20 billion, of the state’s budget. The level of fraud is estimated to account for up to 10 percent of the Medicaid budget. State economists indicate that Medicaid is the state’s biggest cost driver, with projected increases possibly exceeding $400 million this year. From 2005 through 2010, the Public Assistance Fraud Unit referred $18 million in program benefits fraud for prosecution. So far this fiscal year, the unit has received approximately 24,000 referrals for suspected public assistance fraud.

CFO Atwater says his goal is to use the Strike Force to bring all the parties to the table to ensure that the cheats and thieves that are taking Floridians’ hard-earned money end up behind bars.

Learn more online from the strike force home page.