Lawmakers pledge rigorous Florida identity theft law

Lawmakers pledge rigorous Florida identity theft law

Lawmakers in Tallahassee announced plans to work together on a non-bipartisan plan to crack down on tax refund fraud.

In a press conference held in response to an investigation by The Tampa Tribune, lawmakers asserted that they will take steps to make it easier for police and prosecutors bring perpetrators of identity theft to justice.

Law enforcement officials have complained that Florida’s identity theft law complicates prosecution unless if there is conclusive evidence like video and personal identification to pursue case. That means suspects found in possession of Social Security numbers that don’t belong to them, information on birth dates and debit cards with other names cannot be charged with a crime, according to the Tribune. Incidents of criminals and even prison inmates filing false tax returns have increased in Florida in recent years.

Area law enforcement officials applauded the effort to strengthen the law. People “have no legal reason to have ledgers full of people’s names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth,” said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor in an email statement to the Tribune. “They are up to no good with that type of information. It’s extremely frustrating for officers as they run into suspect after suspect with these ledgers, but they can do nothing about it.

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