Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 121587
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File Number: 121587 File Type: Resolution Status: Amended
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: WEB PAGE TO ACCESSIBLE TO REPORT FRAUD Introduced: 8/7/2012
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action:
Agenda Date: 12/18/2012 Agenda Item Number: 11A1
Notes: SEE 130113 FOR FINAL VERSION AS ADOPTED Title: RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE MAYOR OR MAYOR’S DESIGNEE TO CREATE A WEB PAGE DIRECTLY ACCESSIBLE FROM THE COUNTY’S HOMEPAGE THAT WILL ENABLE CITIZENS TO REPORT FRAUD (SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NOS. 121296, 121445)
Indexes: FRAUD
  WEBSITE
Sponsors: Lynda Bell, Prime Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
  Juan C. Zapata, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 12/18/2012 11A1 Amended
REPORT: See Agenda Item 11A1 Amended, Legislative File No. 130113 for the amended version.

Board of County Commissioners 10/23/2012 11A2 Deferred 12/18/2012 P

Office of the Chairperson 10/19/2012 Deferrals 10/23/2012
REPORT: The Prime Sponsor has requested deferral to the December 18, 2012 BCC meeting.

Board of County Commissioners 9/6/2012 11A2 Deferred 10/23/2012 P
REPORT: The foregoing proposed resolution was deferred to the October 23, 2012 county commission meeting during consideration of changes to today's (9/6) agenda as requested by the resolution's prime sponsor.

Office of the Chairperson 9/4/2012 Deferrals
REPORT: The Prime Sponsor has requested deferral to the October 23, 2012 BCC meeting.

County Attorney 8/7/2012 Assigned Michael B. Valdes

Internal Mgmt. & Fiscal Responsibility Committee 7/10/2012 2B AMENDED Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation with committee amendment(s) P
REPORT: Chairwoman Bell relinquished the chair to Commissioner Suarez. Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Commissioner Edmonson questioned who would monitor the investigation of fraud reporting. Captain Edward Gallagher, Economic Crimes Bureau, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), apprised members of the Committee that the MDPD was responsible for fraud investigations. Commissioner Bell noted the intent of this proposal was to provide a visible location on the County website for anyone in the community to report fraud and that the current enforcement process would not change. Commissioner Jordan commended Commissioner Bell for introducing this proposed resolution, noting it addressed issues presented during the Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget process related to eliminating fraud. She noted this proposal provided a method for residents to participate in the process and asked to be listed as a co-sponsor. Commissioners Diaz and Edmonson also asked that they be listed as co-sponsors. Commissioner Suarez requested additional clarification on the method that would be used to forward fraud notifications to the appropriate department. Mr. Henry Sori, Director, Community Information and Outreach, responded that all appropriate agencies would participate in a process that would develop procedures to compile and forward fraud notifications and a recommendation would be presented to the County Commission. Commissioner Bell noted the importance of everyone working together and proceeded to read an amendment to the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote on this proposed resolution as amended to instruct Mr. Henry Sori to create an inclusive internal working group comprised of employees from the 311 Answer Center, the Inspector General, the Property Appraiser and other departments to streamline the fraud reporting process and implement recommended changes to the web portal. Chairwoman Bell resumed the Chair.

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE MAYOR OR MAYOR’S DESIGNEE TO CREATE A WEB PAGE DIRECTLY ACCESSIBLE FROM THE COUNTY’S HOMEPAGE THAT WILL ENABLE CITIZENS TO REPORT FRAUD

BODY
WHEREAS, fraud has a pernicious effect on our community that deprives local governments of valuable revenue sources, increases the tax burden on law-abiding citizens, and promotes a general lack of trust not only in our government officials but also in our neighbors; and
WHEREAS, even a cursory examination of Miami-Dade County’s website reveals a vast number of web pages that each deal with different types of fraud including, but not limited to, mortgage fraud, deed fraud, HUD fraud, contractor fraud, homestead exemption fraud, Medicare fraud, consumer fraud, and government fraud; and
WHEREAS, these web pages are not linked to one another, they often have different reporting methods, and they are frequently operated by wholly different County departments; and
WHEREAS, any concerned citizen seeking to perform a public service and report fraud must presently navigate a digital labyrinth that does not easily direct citizens to the proper site; and
WHEREAS, the present framework can lead to confusion, frustration, and, worse yet, can permit fraud to ultimately go unreported; and
WHEREAS, due in part to the current recession, rising unemployment, and the decline in the real estate market, there appears to have been an increase in occurrences of fraud throughout Miami-Dade County; and 
WHEREAS, the County already devotes significant resources to combating fraud; and
WHEREAS, the investigation and enforcement of laws concerning fraud can lead to the recovery of tax revenue and other monies due and owing to the County, municipalities and the School Board; and
WHEREAS, the Property Appraiser, for example, has done an admirable job of investigating and penalizing tax exemption fraud in general, has increased his investigations in this area, and, in the last three years, has returned to the tax roll over $1.3 billion in taxable property, and has, in 2011, filed a record $7.9 million in tax liens so that, as of May 22, 2012, there are over $14.5 million in tax liens recorded with the Clerk of the Courts; and
WHEREAS, funds recovered through the investigation of all forms of fraud can be used to finance a variety of County-wide services; and 
WHEREAS, losses in revenue due to the economic slow-down and recession have already forced the County to reduce services, lower support to deserving community groups, lay off employees, and cut salaries and benefits; and 
WHEREAS, if nothing is done, these losses in revenues will cause even further cuts and reductions, creating more hardships, and perhaps even threatening the funding for essential social services to children and the elderly and even for police and fire protection; and 
WHEREAS, in such difficult economic times, the County should not have to address revenue losses by raising the millage rate or increasing taxes, which places the burden on the hard-working, law-abiding people of South Florida who cannot afford to pay more taxes while still caring for their own families and trying to grow the economy; and 
WHEREAS, it is therefore more important than ever to ensure that all forms of fraud are fully investigated; and
WHEREAS, a comprehensive approach to addressing fraud in Miami-Dade County will require the assistance of concerned citizens as well as dedicated County employees; and
WHEREAS, Miami-Dade citizens cannot become fully involved in this process unless the County makes it easier for them to report fraud; and
WHEREAS, there should be a single web page, directly accessible from the County’s homepage (http://www.miamidade.gov), that serves as a one-stop clearinghouse for all fraud reporting; and
WHEREAS, this site should enable concerned citizens to either report fraud directly from the newly created site or easily direct citizens to the proper department or agency,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that the Mayor or mayor’s designee is directed to create a web page directly accessible from the County’s homepage that will enable citizens to report fraud. This web page should include a feature where any citizen who uses the site to report fraud will receive an electronic reply that includes a case number for ease of reference and to facilitate any necessary follow-up. This web page shall also include an option for citizens to report fraud anonymously. >>The Mayor or mayor’s designee is further directed to create an internal working group to streamline the fraud reporting process and implement those recommended changes to the web portal. The internal working group should include, among others, 311, the Inspector General, and the Property Appraiser.<<1
1 Committee amendments are indicated as follows: Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] are deleted, words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< are added.



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