Office of Statewide Prosecution
1999 Annual Report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Office of Statewide Prosecution is authorized to investigate and prosecute multi-circuit organized crime.

In FY 1998-1999, the Office handled 584 active criminal investigations and filed 3,138 criminal charges against 390 offenders in 136 cases. A total of 175 filed criminal cases were handled in FY 1998-1999, against 492 defendants. The conviction rate was 92%. The dispositions achieved are detailed herein. Financial benefit to the State in the form of assessed fines, penalties, and restitution amounted to almost $27 million dollars.

The cases fell into three major categories: (1) fraud against the government (benefit, contract, and regulatory); (2) insurance fraud and large scale consumer fraud, particularly against the elderly; and (3) violent offenses, including narcotics trafficking, perpetrated by organized groups.

The Office utilizes a police/prosecutor team approach in these multi-offender, multi-offense, multi-jurisdictional criminal cases. The goal of the teams is to dismantle the organizations through effective prosecution and civil, administrative, and regulatory sanctions where appropriate.

The results of the Office are measured by conviction rates, disposition results, and law enforcement satisfaction surveys. Additional measures involve professional development of staff and the extent to which the Office is involved in criminal justice policy and training throughout the State. All of these indicators, as detailed herein, demonstrate success.

The Office of Statewide Prosecution, with its specialized assignments and multi-circuit jurisdiction, fills a unique role in Florida's criminal justice system. We believe this report illustrates its effectiveness.

Melanie Ann Hines
Statewide Prosecutor
November 15, 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Introduction
II. Investigations and Prosecutions
    A. Caseload Statistics
    B. Statewide Grand Jury
    C. Police/Prosecutor Teams
III. Criminal Justice Policy and Professional Development
    A. Legislative Proposals
    B. Boards and Committees
    C. Professional Development
IV. Administration
    A. Staffing
    B. Budget
    C. Program Evaluation
    D. Electronic Communication and Data Processing
    E. Planning
V. Conclusion

I. INTRODUCTION

The Office of Statewide Prosecution was created by constitutional amendment passed by the voters in 1986. Article IV, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution, together with Section 16.56, of the Florida Statutes, sets forth the jurisdiction and authority of the Office.

The mission of the Office is to investigate and prosecute multi-circuit organized crime and to assist other law enforcement officials in their efforts against organized crime.

Pursuant to Section 16.56 (2), Florida Statutes, this report is submitted to the Governor and the Attorney General of the State of Florida. A copy is also provided to the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court and the leadership of the Florida Legislature.

II. INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS

A.  Caseload Statistics
[Consistent with the Agency Strategic Plan, the Annual Performance Report, and the Legislative Budget Request, caseload data is reported herein on a fiscal year basis.]

The active caseload of the Office includes: (1) cases filed in FY 1998-1999; (2) cases filed in prior years which remained in litigation during FY 1998-1999; (3) long-term, complex criminal investigations; and (4) Statewide Grand Jury presentations.

1.  Cases Filed in FY 1998-1999
In FY 1998-1999, the Office filed 3,138 criminal charges against 390 defendants in 136 complex, multi-circuit cases.

The criminal charges filed by the Office are among the most serious felonies prohibited by law. They are generally joined together in Racketeering indictments. These charges are: Bribery, Burglary, Usury, Extortion, Gambling, Kidnaping, Theft, Murder, Prostitution, Perjury, Robbery, Home-Invasion Robbery, Car-Jacking, Narcotics Violations, Antitrust Violations, Anti-Fencing Violations, Crimes Involving Fraud and Deceit, Computer Pornography, and Attempts, Solicitations, or Conspiracies to commit these offenses.

The charges were filed in 23 counties: Alachua, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Dade, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Leon, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, & Volusia.

2.  Total Inventory of Filed Cases Handled in FY 1998-1999
In FY 1998-1999, the Office handled a total inventory of 175 filed cases against 492 defendants, and closed 132 filed cases with 325 defendants reaching disposition. These cases were in various stages of active litigation during FY 1998-1999.

3.  Active Investigations Pending in FY 1998-1999
The caseload of the Office includes legal and operational assistance to law enforcement officers in major criminal investigations and task force operations. In FY 1998-1999 the Office received 342 new requests for assistance and opened 313 investigations of multi-circuit organized criminal activity.  The total inventory of active investigations during FY 1998-1999 was 584.

The new investigations were conducted by, or in coordination with, 88 separate law enforcement or regulatory agencies.

4.  Cases Disposed of in FY 1998-1999
In FY 1998-1999, 298 of the 325 defendants reaching disposition were convicted, following a plea or trial, with a resulting conviction rate of 92%.

The sentences total:
Prison Terms: 631.9 years/2 Life
Jail time: 12,202 days
Probation Terms: 1,594.4 years
Community Control: 61.83 years
Community Service Hours: 15,035
Victim Restitution: $24,267,960
Number of Victims: 1,056
Fines: $788,246
Court Costs: >$61,803
>Costs of Prosecution: $585,130
Costs of Investigation: $1,054,879

B.  Statewide Grand Jury
Pursuant to Section 905.36, Florida Statutes, the Statewide Prosecutor and her Assistants serve as legal advisers to the Statewide Grand Jury.

The Fourteenth Statewide Grand Jury was impaneled in August 1997, and seated in the Second Judicial Circuit. The Grand Jury reviewed cases presented by the Department of Insurance, Division of Insurance Fraud, in the areas of workers' compensation fraud, health care fraud, fraudulent insurance sales practices, and trust fund "looting." By the end of its term in late 1998, the Grand Jury had issued 13 indictments charging 78 individuals and 5 business entities with 508 violations ranging from racketeering to theft involving nearly $40 million dollars in fraud from a variety of private insurers.

The Grand Jury also issued 4 reports concerning statewide issues and crime prevention in the area of (1) workers' compensation premium fraud, (2) insolvency fraud, (3) health care claim fraud, and (4) fraud in the non-standard insurance industry. The Legislature acted quickly to adopt the recommendations of the Statewide Grand Jury by passing additional workers' compensation laws in 1998, to achieve reform in the system.  The Department of Labor also implemented the Grand Jury's recommendations for more effective oversight of the industry. In 1999, the Legislature enacted additional legislation increasing the penalties for insurance fraud, and for the first time, requiring Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to have the same special investigative units required for insurance companies.

Also in 1998, a report of the Thirteenth Statewide Grand Jury on the State of Florida Employees Health Insurance Trust Fund was released. In 1999, the Legislature adopted one of the Thirteenth Statewide Grand Jury's recommendations regarding the licensing of Home Medical Equipment Providers as part of the statewide effort to reduce fraud in health care.

Copies of grand jury reports are public record and available upon request or from our Internet site: http://myfloridalegal.com/swp

C.  The Police/Prosecutor Team Approach
The Office utilizes a police/prosecutor team approach to attack multi-offender, multi-offense, multi-jurisdictional criminal organizations. The goal of the teams is to dismantle these organizations through effective prosecution and civil, administrative, and regulatory sanctions where appropriate. This requires coordination with a number of law enforcement agencies and other executive branch agencies throughout the State. In short, every case involves detailed investigative planning using a "task force" approach, producing complex charging documents followed by intensive pre-trial motion activity, which may result in parallel litigation for civil remedies, all of which must be coordinated by the handling prosecutor.

In addition to the individual case teams, the Office created prosecution teams to handle as priority issues the following types of cases: insurance fraud; fraud against the government; crimes against the elderly; narcotics cases; computer crimes; cable theft; and gambling. A priority leader coordinated with the prosecutors handling these cases throughout the State to ensure consistency in investigative techniques, charges, procedures, and dispositions.

In 1999, the Office participated as one of many legal advisers in a massive law enforcement effort against designer drug trafficking to Florida's youth in "Operation Heat Rave." Coordinated by the Florida Sheriffs, the Operation resulted in more than 1200 arrests and seizures of drugs, money, and weapons in the amount of $9.4 million dollars.

In 1999, the Office conducted its seventh annual satisfaction survey of referring law enforcement agencies. With a 68% response rate, the Office received above-average ratings in every category evaluated, with 95% indicating intent to refer future investigations.

1.  Insurance Fraud
The Office joined forces with the Insurance Commissioner to combat fraud in the insurance industry. Utilizing the Statewide Grand Jury, and other investigative tools, the Office had a significant impact in this area. In two separate Resolutions adopted in 1998, and another adopted in 1999, the Florida Cabinet recognized the Office of Statewide Prosecution for its work advising the Statewide Grand Jury on matters of insurance fraud and prosecuting these cases.

2.  White Collar Crime Unit
In 1995, the federal government awarded a grant to the Office in order to create a White Collar Crime Unit. The Unit consisted of two attorneys, two financial analysts, and one secretary.  The Unit was dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of cases involving white collar crime, public corruption, and fraud against the government.  The Unit worked closely with the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Revenue, the Comptroller, and Inspector Generals from several executive branch agencies.  The Unit was granted access to the databases of the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC) and the Florida Medicaid Management Information Service (FMMIS). The Unit joined the White Collar Crime Investigative Center and the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. Attorneys in the Unit testified before the Florida Legislature, the Florida Medical Boards, made presentations at health care trade association meetings, and worked closely with numerous federal health care fraud task forces. The Office received a 1997 Davis Productivity Award, for effective investigation and prosecution of Medicaid Fraud cases, in conjunction with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Attorney General's Office.

In 1999, the Office also joined forces with all other state agencies and was recognized by a Cabinet resolution for its participation in the Fight Fraud in Florida initiative and Strike Force Against Fraudulent Enterprises as part of this program. The Office assisted the Legislative Task Force on Illicit Money Laundering and served as advisor to the Multi-Agency Insurance Fraud Task Force.

The results of the efforts under the grant are summarized as follows:

Grant Case Filings and Dispositions Fiscal Year 1998-1999

Total number cases filed: 52
Total number defendants charged: 162
Total number defendants convicted: 113
Total incarceration: 83.02 yrs
Total probation/community control 598.00 yrs
Total community service hours 10,227 hrs
Total restitution assessed: $17,803,198.40
Total fines/court costs assessed: $141,842.00
Total costs of investigation assessed: $473,028.23
Total costs of prosecution assessed: $257,496.91

The federal grant expired in 1999, and the Legislature fully funded the project with General Revenue funds.

3.  Telemarketing Fraud Task Force
In FY 1998-1999, the Office continued to lead the Attorney General's Telemarketing Task Force, composed of investigators and attorneys from the Broward County Sheriff's Office, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Economic Crimes Division of the Office of the Attorney General.

Since its formation in 1993, 69 individuals and 5 business entities have been charged with criminal offenses, 3 civil injunctions obtained, and 2 million dollars in assets held for possible restitution to the victims upon conviction or civil judgment. (This is the first known State seizure of assets in the Cayman Islands for a fraud case). Fifty-four defendants have entered pleas of guilty, although not all have been sentenced; one has been found in violation of probation; one case was successfully tried in 1998 and one in 1999, and the remainder are set for trial in 2000.  The State Attorney of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit charged 26 defendants based on information developed by the task force. The task force is responsible for the closure of 98 "boiler room" operations.

In 1996, two members of the Task Force received a Davis Productivity Award in honor of their effective utilization of state resources to dismantle a telemarketing fraud operation preying on the elderly. In 1998, the Office joined a similar federal effort which includes the FBI,  FTC, IRS, and other State and local law enforcement agencies. The Task Force has been funded for another year.

4.  Multi-Agency Task Forces
The Office is directed pursuant to Section 16.56, Florida Statutes, to assist local law enforcement agencies in their efforts against organized crime. The Office is active with a number of local, state, and national groups taking aim at complex criminal organizations. In FY 1998-1999, the Office worked with the following organizations:
Bike Week Intelligence Task Force
Brevard County Drug Task Force
Broward County Auto Theft Unit
Broward County Environmental Crimes Task Force
Broward County Gangs Task Force
Broward County Robbery Clearinghouse
Broward County Telemarketing Task Force
Broward Law Enforcement Against Child Harm
Central Florida Bank Fraud Workgroup
Central Florida Child Exploitation Task Force
Central Florida Criminal Justice Council
Central Florida Fraud and Forgery Task Force
Central Florida Intelligence Unit
Central Florida Narcotics Intelligence Unit
Central Florida Robbery Task Force
Central Florida Tornado Fraud Task Force
City/County Investigative Bureau in Sanford
Combined Law Enforcement Against Narcotics (C.L.E.A.N.)
Clay County Investigative Bureau/Narcotics Intelligence Unit
Common Law Courts Task Force
Dade County Intelligence Unit
Duval Area Telemarketing Task Force
Federal Computer Investigators Commission
Florida Association of Computer Crimes Investigators
Florida Association of Property Crimes Detectives
Florida Consumer Protection Intelligence Unit
Florida Intelligence Unit
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Regional Intelligence Units
Florida Sex Crimes Investigators Association
Gulf Coast Intelligence Unit
Gypsy Intelligence Unit
Hardee County Intelligence Unit
Hillsborough State Attorney Telemarketing Task Force
Hillsborough Street Gang Intelligence Unit
International Association of Chiefs of Police High Technology Crime Workgroup
International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts
International Association of Special Investigative Units/West Central
Florida Chapter
International Cargo Theft Task Force
Lake County Intelligence Unit
Law Enforcement Effort against Child Harm Task Force
Law Enforcement Electronic Technical Assistance Council (LEETAC)
League of Environmental Enforcement and Prosecution
Marion County Intelligence Unit
Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in Orlando
Metropolitan Organized Crime Intelligence Unit in Dade County
Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community
Multi-Agency Gangs Task Force (MAGTF) in Dade County
Multi-Agency Health Insurance Fraud Task Force
Multi-Agency Pharmaceutical Crimes Group
Monroe County Law Enforcement Group
National Association of Attorneys General Internet Crime Task Force
National Association of Attorneys General Pyramid Scheme Workgroup
National Association of Attorneys General, Subcommittee on "INTERNET Kiddie Porn"
National Association of BUNCO Investigations
National Association of Police Chiefs, Regional Organized Crime Workgroup
National Focus Group on Domestic Terrorism
National White Collar Crime Center
North Florida Fraud & Forgery Task Force
North Florida Investigative Support Center
Northeast Florida Criminal Intelligence Unit
Northeast Florida Investigative Support Center
Northeast Florida Police Executives
Orange County Telemarketing Fraud Prevention Task Force
Orlando Economic Crime Unit
Osceola County Investigative Bureau
Palm Beach County Economic Crime Unit
Palm Beach County Gangs Task Force
Public Corruption Working Group
Regional Interagency Fraud Task Force
Regional Violent Crime Task Forces
Russian-Eurasian Intelligence Group
STOP Telemarketing Fraud
Society of Certified Criminal Analysts
Southeastern Environmental Enforcement Network, comprised of ten States
South Florida Investigative Support Center
South Florida Robbery Task Force
Southwest Florida Environmental Work-Group
State Archeological Site Destruction Task Force
Statewide Terrorist Intelligence Network Group
Strike Force Against Fraudulent Enterprises (S.A.F.E.)
Suncoast Analysts
Tampa Bay Area Intelligence Unit
Third Circuit Law Enforcement Group
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Stamp Fraud Task Force
U.S. Department of Justice Alien Smuggling Task Force
U.S. Department of Justice Staged Accident Task Force
Violent Crime Council
West Central Florida Environmental Crimes Task Force

In FY 1998-1999, eleven prosecutors were cross-designated to work cooperatively with State Attorneys, the Attorney General, and the Department of Insurance in complex, multi-circuit cases.

5.  Law Enforcement Training
Assistant Statewide Prosecutors and Financial Analysts provided legal training to law enforcement officers throughout the State in the following 30 specialized areas:
Arson Investigation and Prosecution
Auto Theft
Cable Theft
Computer Crimes
Construction Fraud
Contraband Forfeiture
Contract Fraud
Courtroom Testimony and Demeanor for Law Enforcement Agents
Deposition Procedures
DUI Trial Advocacy
Elder Abuse and Neglect
Environmental Crime
Extradition
Financial Investigation, Practical Skills
Health Care Fraud Investigation
Identity Theft
Insurance Fraud Prosecution
Investigative Planning  
Jurisdiction and Operations of the Office of Statewide Prosecution
Medicaid Fraud
Organized Crime
Patient Brokering
Prosecution of "Gypsy" Organized Crime
Prosecution of Street Gangs
Racketeering Law
Search and Seizure
Securities Fraud
Statewide Grand Jury, Law and Procedure
Title Loan Prosecutions
White Collar Crime

A copy of the OSWP training video, brochure, and PowerPoint presentation is available upon request.

The Office co-sponsored a White Collar Crime Seminar with the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, assisted in the planning of its Computer Crimes seminars, and chaired the Gang Prosecution Seminar.

Two Assistant Statewide Prosecutors received distinguished service awards from the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association for serving as lecturers in selected courses.

Two Assistant Statewide Prosecutors and one Financial Analyst serve as volunteer instructors for the National White Collar Crime Center.

III. CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A. Legislative Proposals
In 1999, the Office continued its work in crime prevention and deterrence by working on legislative proposals to accomplish these goals. These efforts included review of draft legislation, invited testimony at committee meetings, and proposals for new laws. This year, the Legislature adopted several new laws with input from the Office: the new identity theft law, stronger insurance fraud penalties, and tighter regulation of the Home Health Care industry. Additional proposals which will receive continued attention relate to computer crimes and the State's contracting process.

B.  Boards, Committees and Associations
1.  The Statewide Prosecutor continued to serve as the Attorney General's representative on the Violent Crime Council established by the Legislature in 1993.  See Section 943.031, Florida Statutes.  The Council was created to:  advise the Department of  Law Enforcement on the creation of Regional Violent Crime Investigation Coordinating Teams;  develop criteria for the disbursement of funds from the Violent Crime Investigative Emergency Account; review and approve all disbursements of said funds; advise the Department on the development of the statewide Violent Crime Information System;  consult with Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to establish standards for officer training in investigating and preventing violent crime;  and report to the Legislature annually regarding its activities. A copy of the report is available upon request.

2.  In 1999, the Office attended all the public hearings and work-group meetings of the Legislative Task Force on Money Laundering in Florida.

3.  The Statewide Prosecutor was appointed as the Attorney General's representative on the Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Board.

4.  The Office was named a part of the Governor's Public Corruption Study Commission.

5.  The Office participated in the Legislative Internet Access Workshops.

6.  In FY 1998-1999, an employee of the Office was a member of, or was active within, the following criminal justice associations:
Big Bend Law Enforcement Association
Central Florida Criminal Justice Council
Central Florida Intelligence Unit
Certified Fraud Examiners' Association
Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency
Florida Gang Investigators Association
Florida Intelligence Unit
Florida Narcotics Officers Association
Florida Network of Victim/Witness Services Association
Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association
Florida Sheriffs Association
League of Environmental Enforcement and Prosecution
National Association of Bunco Investigators
National Black Prosecuting Attorneys Association
National District Attorneys Association
National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association
National White Collar Crime Center
State Law Enforcement Chiefs Association
Suncoast Analysts Association

C.  Professional Development
1.  In FY 1998-1999, Assistant Statewide Prosecutors were distinguished as experts in 12 fields: (1) Organized Crime; (2) the Prosecution of "Gypsies", "Travelers", and Con Artists; (3) Environmental Investigations and Prosecutions, and Environmental Self-Audit Legislation; (4) Construction Fraud; (5) Home-Invasion Robbery Prosecutions; (6) Health Care Fraud; (7) Insurance Fraud; (8) Mortgage Fraud; (9)Telemarketing Fraud; (10) Cable Theft; (11) Computer Crimes; and (12) Elder Abuse and Neglect. These attorneys have lectured at state, federal, and international conferences; have published articles in legal periodicals; and have been interviewed on local and national television programs.

2.  On staff, there are four attorneys Board Certified in criminal law, two Criminal Justice Executive Institute/Senior Leadership graduates, six Criminal Justice Executive Institute/Chief Executive Seminar graduates, and one adjunct professor of law at Nova University. Three members of the Office serve as faculty members of the National White Collar Crime center in a volunteer capacity. One financial analyst and one prosecutor maintain their Florida police standards certification. Ten attorneys are rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Several attorneys have been published in Bar journals, and other legal and law enforcement related publications. One prosecutor and one financial specialist are pursuing advanced college degrees in criminology and marketing, respectively.

3.  The attorneys are admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Florida, as well as the state courts of Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York.

4.  Many Assistant Statewide Prosecutors are members of the American Bar Association American Inns of Court, National Bar Association, and are active in local Bar Associations. One attorney is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Black Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

5.  Prosecutors and financial analysts in the Office received 2,977 hours of continuing education in the following areas:
Advanced Evidence
Cellular Telecommunications Fraud
Computer Crimes
Computer Skills
Consumer Protection
Credit Card Fraud
Digital Technology and Wiretaps
Discovery Depositions
Economic Crime
Electronic Surveillance
Entertainment Law
Environmental Law
Ethics
FCIC/NCIC operations
Financial Investigation
Future Planning
Gang Investigation
Health Care Fraud
Homicide Prosecution
Identity Theft
Insurance Fraud
Interview techniques (elderly victims/witnesses)
Jury Selection
Leadership
Legislative Procedure
Media Relations
Modern Policing
Money Laundering
Post-Conviction Relief
Pre-trial Advocacy
Preventing Crime in the Black Community
Prosecutorial Misconduct
Real Property Fraud
Security of Electronic Commerce
Search and Seizure Issues
Sentencing Guidelines (Punishment Code)
Telemarketing Fraud
Terrorism Investigation
Training the Trainers
Trial Techniques
Victims' Rights
White Collar Crime

6. The Office participated in the FPAA Minority Job Fair held in Gainesville.

7. Six members of the Office have been certified to operate the FCIC/NCIC computerized criminal history database, and have access to the Court Ordered Payment System of the Department of Corrections.

8.  The members of the Office volunteer their time for community projects, criminal justice oriented civic work, and pro bono legal assistance in the following activities:
Christian Legal Society
DARE Program
Florida American Legion Boys State Mock Trial Workshop
Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches
Florida State University College of Law; legal writing class and Mock
Trial team
Florida Law Related Education Association; Statewide High School
Mock Trial competition
Guardian Ad Litem Programs
Habitat for Humanity
High School Student Mentor Programs
Homeless Advocacy Projects
Legal Aid Foundation
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Seminole County Bar Association Citizens' Dispute Settlement
Tampa Bay Area Legal Services
Teen Court/Peer Court
Volunteer instructors for "Career Day" at several local schools
Women in Distress/ Broward County
YMCA

IV. ADMINISTRATION

A.  Staffing
In FY 1998-1999, the Office of Statewide Prosecution operated 6 Bureaus:
North Florida Bureau -- Tallahassee
Northeast Florida Bureau -- Jacksonville
Central Florida Bureau -- Orlando
West Florida Bureau -- Tampa
South Florida Bureau -- Ft. Lauderdale
Southwest Florida Bureau -- Ft. Myers

At the end of FY 1998-1999, the Office was staffed with 62.5 employees:
1     Statewide Prosecutor
6     Chief Assistants
2     Special Counsel
25   Assistant Statewide Prosecutors
5     Financial Analysts
1     Executive Assistant
1     Administrative Assistant
12   Executive Secretaries
1     OPS Administrative Assistant
1     Paralegal
1     OPS Secretaries
3.5  OPS receptionists
2     OPS Clerks
1     OPS Financial Specialist

B.  Budget
The total annual general revenue appropriation to fund the Office for FY 1998-1999 was $3,702,743.  This appropriation covers salaries, rent, utilities, furniture, library materials, computers, expert witness fees, court reporter bills, and travel expenses. The Office receives no funding from any county government.

The Office was awarded a federal grant for the operation of the White Collar Crime Unit.  An appropriation of $249,924 in federal dollars and a 25% general revenue match funds the operation of this unit.

The Office also receives an appropriation from the State Courts in the amount of $158,000 to fund the investigations, operations, and case-related work of the Statewide Grand Jury.  The statutory grand jury fees and travel reimbursements are made from this fund. This amount has not been increased since 1991.

In FY 1998-1999, the prosecutors and financial analysts worked a combined annual overtime total of 4,269 hours. As Select Exempt employees, the attorneys and analysts are not compensated for this extra work.  At an average hourly rate of $ $25.28 per hour (salary plus benefits), this amounts to an added value of $107,920 to the taxpayers.

The Office continued to require traveling employees to rent subcompact cars rather than the State contract authorized compact cars. This cost reduction effort resulted in a savings of over $6,370 during FY 1998-1999.

The Office received a Davis Productivity Award in 1999 for its efforts in collecting the costs of prosecution awarded in its criminal cases.

C.  Program Evaluation
1. The last performance evaluation by the Auditor General found that the Office was "meeting its legislative mandate in all essential aspects of its performance": investigation, prosecution, cooperation with law enforcement agencies, and development of performance measures. See Report No. 12070.

2. In 1997, the Department of Community Affairs conducted an audit of the White Collar Crime Unit and found that "this project has already exceeded planned levels of performance."  All project funding documents were found to be in order. (Report on 97-CJ-6J-13-00-16-001).

3.  In 1999, FDLE audited the use of the FCIC/NCIC system and found that the Office "is operating in full compliance with FCIC/NCIC rules, regulations, and user agreements." (FCIC/NCIC Audit 9899-202).

4. In 1998-1999, the Office conducted its seventh annual satisfaction survey of referring law enforcement agencies.  With a 68% response rate, the Office received above-average ratings in every category evaluated, with 95% indicating intent to refer future investigations.

5.  The Office continued to use its post-case review system to analyze the performance of the police/prosecutor teams.

D.  Electronic Communication and Data Processing
All personnel are using PC-based computer technology for electronic mail, data processing, legal research, and document production.  The Office posts its public documents on the Internet at: http://myfloridalegal.com/swp

The Office has access to offender-based data systems in Broward, Orange, and Leon counties, and is working with CJIS representatives to gain access throughout the State.

E.  Planning
Pursuant to Chapter 186, Florida Statutes, the Office submitted its Agency Strategic Plan for 2000-2005, which includes priority issues, program objectives, trends and conditions, performance measures, and implementing strategies.

The goals set forth in the Agency Strategic Plan are: (1) To facilitate an "integrated problem-solving approach" to the investigation of multi-circuit crime by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies; and (2) To investigate and prosecute organized criminal activity over which the Office has jurisdiction, with a focus on maximum interruption of the illegal operations of the networks or organizations at high levels.

The strategic objectives are: (1) To effectively prosecute multi-circuit cases on a statewide level from initial investigative planning to preparation of charging documents, through pre-trial hearings, trial, and sentencing proceedings; and (2) To coordinate effectively with all appropriate law enforcement, administrative, and regulatory agencies in the application of all available sanctions to the illegal operations of organized criminals.

The Annual Strategic Plan Performance Report (based on fiscal year data) was also timely filed. Copies of both reports are available upon request.

V. CONCLUSION

The Office just completed its thirteenth year of operation.  Over the years, the Office has had a significant impact on major criminal organizations operating throughout the State. It has maintained strong working relations with law enforcement, been active in the development of criminal justice policy, and achieved the objectives set forth in its Agency Strategic Plan.