Floridians, This week, I announced that the 2021 Florida Unclaimed Property Online Auction will be held online for the first time in the programís history. The auction, starting Friday, April 23rd, is open to the public nationwide and will feature bidding on jewelry, watches, rare coins and more. Auction items were turned over to my Division of Unclaimed Property after being recovered from abandoned safe deposit boxes. Click here to register now!
Every year, the Department of Financial Services auctions off thousands of items left abandoned and unclaimed in the State of Florida. The proceeds generated by this auction are used to help fund education in Florida and unclaimed property owners can still claim the value of these items at any time. Since taking office in 2017, Iím proud to have returned more than $1.2 billion in unclaimed property back to the pockets of Floridians.
One of my top priorities every year is fighting for vital consumer protections. This week, Senate Bill 1598 advanced to the Senate floor and this legislation will help prevent Floridians from feeling the burden of unnecessary fees, assist in thefight against fraud and scams and protect our insurance markets from being overrun with unwarranted litigation. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening consumer protection is more important than ever as families and communities continue to get back on their feet. I appreciate President Simpson, Chair Stargel and Senator Gruters for continuing to step up for Florida consumers.
Lastly, Attorney General Ashley Moody and I announced an arrest of a fraudster who allegedly orchestrated a life insurance fraud scheme which had the potential to defraud more than $1.9 million in death benefits from eight insurance companies. Iím fed up with criminals looking to take advantage of Floridians to make a quick buck, and itís especially alarming when these fraudsters target our seniors. I appreciate the dedication of my fraud detectives and the assistance of Attorney General Ashley Moodyís Office to capture this alleged fraudster and bring her to justice.