The level of enforcement given to a specific crime can change over time. One thing that can cause such a change is when a high-ranking government official decides to make combating a certain type of crime a priority. Recently in Florida, one government official has singled out fraud as something his office will be putting an increased focus on.
The official in question is Jeff Atwater. He is Florida’s new Chief Financial Officer. He made the comments about fraud offenses last Wednesday, during an Associated Press event.
During the event, Atwater stated that he believed that fraud was becoming a major problem for the state. He said that fraud scams were costing Florida citizens billions of dollars. Two types of fraud he specifically singled out were auto insurance fraud and Medicaid fraud.
He went on to say that he was going to make fighting fraud the top priority for his office. As an example of this increased focus, Atwater mentioned that his office had recently arrested seven individuals for insurance fraud.
When a high-ranking government official decides to make fighting a specific crime a priority, it can lead to many changes in how this crime is enforced. It can cause more government resources to be put towards the enforcement of the crime. It also can lead to law enforcement being asked to use new methods and tools in its investigations of the offense. Another potential effect of increased government focus on a crime is that authorities might be more aggressive when prosecuting individuals accused of this offense.
Thus, it will be interesting to see what changes occur in the enforcement of fraud offenses in Florida as a result of Atwater’s proclaimed focus on these crimes.
Source: The Miami Herald, “CFO says Floridians being swindled out of billions,” (Article no longer available online) 19 Jan 2011