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.

  • Former Va. governor's corruption trial begins

    Former Va. governor's corruption trial begins

    Jury selection is on the agenda for opening day in the corruption trial of a former Virginia governor and his wife in Richmond.
    Jury selection is on the agenda for opening day in the corruption trial of a former Virginia governor and his wife in Richmond.
  • Despite good news, benefit programs face problems

    Despite good news, benefit programs face problems

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:36 AM EDT2014-07-29 07:36:53 GMT
    Despite some good news, Medicare and Social Security still face long-term financial problems as millions of baby boomers reach retirement. Social Security's disability program is already in crisis as it edges...
    Despite some good news, Medicare and Social Security still face long-term financial problems as millions of baby boomers reach retirement. Social Security's disability program is already in crisis as it edges toward...
  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:09 AM EDT2014-07-29 07:09:15 GMT
    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.
    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.
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.