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Fraud Spotlight: South Florida

Sean Trundy

In a short new series, Fraud Fighter will profile a variety of high-fraud cities across the country and identify what makes them centers for fraudulent activity.

Fraud Spotlight: South Florida

Any way you slice it, South Florida tops the list when it comes to fraud - from mortgage scams to identity theft to tax refund schemes. Three of the most populous counties in the state, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade, are home to millions of dollars worth of fraud, the AP reports. 

The trio of Medicare fraud, mortgage fraud, and identity theft coupled with tax refunds are said to be the most "lucrative" of schemes in the South Florida region. While Florida as a state ranks first in identity theft cases (coming in at 193 cases per 100,000 people), the greater Miami area racks in 340 cases of identity theft per 100,000 people. The Treasury Department also reports that false federal income tax returns are filed in South Florida at 46x the national average

What makes this area so ripe with fradulent activity? While it is clear that the South Florida region is the nation's "organized fraud capital," the reasons behind it are not as apparent. Some investigators claim it may be the beauty of the area and the potential for a new start in a metropolitan area that draws in fraudsters. Others explain that it may be due to the close proximity to the Caribbean islands. Other arguments cite the high number of older retirees in the area, or the fact that the area is a melting pot of many different communities as potential aspects fueling the fraud boom.

Click here to read the full articles for Yahoo and Fortune.

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