The Leon County Sheriff's Office Financial Crimes Unit consists of six detectives who are highly trained in the investigation of financial crimes. These crimes include embezzlement, bank fraud, scams, credit card fraud, computer fraud, financial exploitation of the elderly/disabled and other white collar crimes. One detective is also trained in the area of Internet Crimes Against Children and investigates On-line Predators. The Leon County Sheriff's Office Financial Crimes Unit is dedicated to the detection and apprehension of fraud related crimes against the citizens of Leon County.
The Financial Crime Unit also conducts forensic analysis on computers and related peripherals. We are active members in the North Florida Cyber Crimes Task Force and Infraguard. The Cyber Crimes Task Force is a joint effort of Local, State, and Federal Agencies in combating crime perpetrated using the Internet. Infraguard is a joint effort between government agencies and the public in cyber crime detection, investigation, and prevention.
The LCSO Financial Crimes Unit has been a pioneer in the development of programs to combat fraud in the Leon County area. The first of these programs was the thumb print identification system in the local financial institutions. In this program the institution requires that persons not having an account with the institution but who wished to cash an account holder's check provide a thumb print for identification on the check. After the first year of use by only five institutions the amount of forgeries from those institutions was reduced by $20,000.00.
The Financial Crimes Unit participates in the Fraud-Net e-mail alert system which is sponsored by the Florida Bankers Association. The system allows detectives to share information with other investigators from 21 states and Puerto Rico. The website allows for input of crucial suspect data and photographs. This system has been extremely beneficial when dealing with fraud suspects who commit crimes in multiple jurisdictions involving multiple financial institutions.
The Financial Crimes Unit works jointly with the Big Bend Fraud & Forgery Task Force which consists of representatives from financial institutions, law enforcement and corporate/retail security who meet once a month to discuss incidents occurring in our area to prevent future acts of fraud.
Three of the unit detectives and their supervisor are Certified Fraud Examiners. The CFE is a professional organization which certifies financial crimes investigators from the public and private sector. The course includes over 50 hours of study material and a four part examination consisting of 600 questions. The Financial Crimes Unit participates in the Tallahassee CFE Chapter.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office Financial Crimes Unit is dedicated to the detection and apprehension of criminals who commit fraud against the citizens of Leon County. In 2005 the FCU worked 869 cases with a clearance rate of 53%, which included 132 arrests. In 2006 the FCU worked 930 cases with a clearance rate of 54% and 87 arrests.