OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Department of Financial Services

Investigative and Forensic Services

What is the purpose of the division?

The Department of Financial Services' Division of Investigative and Forensic Services is a law enforcement and forensic agency that conducts insurance fraud, workers' compensation fraud, and fire, arson, and explosives investigations. It also conducts investigations regarding the misappropriation or misuse of state funds and performs fire and explosives sample analysis.

What services does the division provide?

The division provides services through five organizational units.
  • Workers Compensation Fraud investigates suspected criminal violations of Florida's Workers' Compensation laws.  The bureau participates in joint efforts with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, and multiple local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to prevent and prosecute
    • unlicensed contractors;
    • businesses employing workers without appropriate workers' compensation coverage;
    • employees who file false on-the-job injuries or exaggerate their injuries; and
    • employees working other jobs while receiving workers' compensation benefits.
  • Fiscal Integrity detects and investigates the misappropriation or misuse of state assets in a manner that safeguards the interests of the State of Florida and its taxpayers.  The office works to ensure the proper use of taxpayer funds by investigating allegations of
    • state contract and grant fraud;
    • unclaimed property fraud;
    • theft of state property;
    • electronic fund transfer fraud;
    • state travel reimbursement, credit card and payroll fraud; and
    • fraud through counterfeit warrants and fraudulent debits to state treasury accounts.
  • Insurance Fraud investigates alleged acts of insurance fraud not categorized under workers' compensation fraud, including licensee, healthcare, application, vehicle, homeowners, commercial, disability, arson, and life insurance fraud. Included within these categories are organized schemes to defraud the public and insurers, insolvency of insurance companies due to internal fraud, criminal activity by unauthorized entities illegally doing business in Florida, and viatical-related fraud.
  • Fire, Arson, and Explosives Investigations detects, investigates, apprehends and prosecutes offenders of arson and explosive related crimes. The Bureau also works to enhance investigations and prosecutions and to deter arson and explosive-related crimes through education and training.
  • Forensic Services provides forensic laboratory services. The laboratory supports fire, explosion, and arson investigations by providing forensic analysis of fire and explosives debris and offers a variety of imaging services including the enhancement of still images, special image filtering, and creating still images from video footage.

How can I report fraud?

The division operates a toll-free number (1-800-378-0445) for persons in Florida to report fraud. Individuals also may report suspected fraud using the department's online form.  A reward of up to $25,000 is offered to persons providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons committing insurance fraud, including employers who illegally fail to obtain workers' compensation coverage.

How successful are the division's fire and arson investigations?

During Fiscal Year 2018-19, 82.8% of closed fire investigations were successfully concluded (including by cause determined, suspect identified and/or arrested, or other reasons). According to the division, 22.7% of closed arson investigations resulted in an arrest made in Florida.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions
PROGRAM: INVESTIGATIVE AND FORENSIC SERVICES
FIRE AND ARSON INVESTIGATIONS
15,505,588
124.00
FORENSIC SERVICES
1,108,259
9.00
INSURANCE FRAUD
22,413,629
194.00
OFFICE OF FISCAL INTEGRITY
662,648
7.00
TOTAL
39,690,124
334.00

Updates

Trends in Forensic Services. The division runs the only state crime laboratory performing forensic analysis of fire and explosion crime scene evidence. In Fiscal Year 2018-19, the laboratory processed 8,372 items, compared to a three-year annual average of 8,566.  The Bureau continues to serve its customers in a shorter period than most similarly situated laboratories in other states. In a report from Operation Foresight operated by the West Virginia State University, a national survey determined that for “trace” evidence (of which fire debris and explosives analyses are a type) the average turnaround exceeded 50 days.

Bureau of Investigation.  In Fiscal Year 2018-19, the Bureau received complaints against individual licensees, insurance agencies and unlicensed persons that resulted in 3,862 opened investigations and 3,952 completed investigations. These investigations were conducted by 37 investigators located in Tallahassee and nine field offices throughout the state. A total of 418 investigations resulted in formal disciplinary action, such as license suspension, revocation, probation, restitution and/or administrative fines.  The bureau expects that each investigator will complete 114 investigations per fiscal year through FY 2024-25 and anticipates that the direct cost of each investigation will be $935 for each fiscal year through FY 2024-25.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
Joint Annual Reports, Division of Insurance Fraud and Division of Workers' Compensation
Annual Reports, Division of Insurance Fraud


Websites of Interest
National Association of Insurance Commissioners
National Insurance Crime Bureau
Coalition Against Insurance Fraud
Florida Fire Chiefs' Association
International Association of Fire Chiefs
U.S. Fire Administration

Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Sections 17.04, 17.0401, 17.05, 552.113, 552.21, 626.989, 633.112, and 943.0312, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, 850-413-3115

Website