Proposed bill aims to crack down on identity theft - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Proposed bill aims to crack down on identity theft in Florida

Posted: Updated:
TALLAHASSEE, FL -

A bill aiming to crack down on identity theft is making its way through the Florida Legislature.

State senators in Tallahassee on Monday held a hearing on SB 1126, sponsored by State Sen. Arthenia Joyner, which would allow suspects to be charged for possessing identities that don't belong to them. Currently, law enforcement must prove intent to fraudulently use the identities – not just possession.

The Tampa Bay area has been a major hot spot for identity theft and tax refund fraud. Suspects use the stolen identities to file fake tax returns to get refund money, delaying legitimate refunds to the victims and leaving them to sort out the mess with the IRS.

"We need to do what's necessary to make sure this does not continue to happen and Florida does not continue to have this black eye of all of these people stealing identities and using them to benefit themselves financially," Joyner said.

The idea of changing the law to take out the need to prove "intent" has raised some concerns about making the law overly broad and whether innocent people could get caught up in it, but Joyner said the law allows for certain defenses.

"We're not interested in arresting CPAs or accountants or merely anyone who has a family member's identification," said Corp. Bruce Crumpler of the Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office. "The law, the specific bill, is designed to allow the person to reasonably explain why they're in possession of what they have."

Crumpler said if the proposed law were in place today, it would allow certain cases to move faster - including one in which a six-year-old brought 52 debit cards in other people's names to school in February. No charges have been filed in that case.

A six-member criminal justice committee unanimously voted to send the bill on to the next stop on Monday. It is now scheduled to be heard by the appropriations subcommittee on criminal and civil justice on April 4.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:49 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:49:59 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • NewsMore>>

  • Labor Day - more than just a day off

    Labor Day - more than just a day off

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:41:03 GMT
    While many people have the day off work, the day is actually meant to celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers.
    While many people have the day off work, the day is actually meant to celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers.
  • Two shot outside party in Tampa

    Two shot outside party in Tampa

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:59 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:59:20 GMT
    Two people have gunshot wounds after a shooting outside a party in Tampa early Sunday morning, Tampa police said. 
    Two people have gunshot wounds after a shooting outside a party in Tampa early Sunday morning, Tampa police said. 
  • Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:44 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:44:26 GMT
    Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. 
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. 

Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.