State lawmakers are considering a bill designed to make it easier for law enforcement to charge individuals found with suspected stolen identities.
On Thursday, state senators discussed the bill introduced by state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, who filed the bill after seeing reports from the joint News Channel 8-Tampa Tribune investigation into tax refund fraud.
The investigation revealed that suspects found with ledgers of names and social security numbers – the kind of item often used to commit tax refund fraud – sometimes could be charged because of the way Florida's law is written. The proposed bill would allow law enforcement to arrest the suspects found with other people's personal information, without having to prove how they intended to use that information.
The bill provides for exemptions for people, including parents and government workers, who have a legitimate reason to have others' personal information.
If the bill passes in the Florida Legislature, it would then go to Governor Rick Scott for his consideration. The governor's office is currently reviewing the bill.
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