Governor Rick Scott’s Department of Economic Opportunity systematically and fraudulently reported around 19,000 Floridians to collection agencies, despite repeated warnings by whistleblower Dianne Parcell.
The State of Florida Commission on Human Relations concluded that the Rick Scott Administration failed to correct the fraudulent activities and “retaliated against [the whistleblower] because she engaged in [whistleblowing] protected conduct.”
A jury of her peers also concluded that the administration systematically retaliated against the whistleblower after she uncovered 97 conspicuous irregularities and refused to participate in an institutionalized cover up. The actual number of Floridians is estimated to be around 19,000.
During the trial it was revealed, under oath, that one Floridian has already demanded $100,000 and has settled with the state. This means taxpayers could be on the hook for around $1.9 billion worth of claims.
“This administration was heartless and deceitful to me for trying to stop the fraudulent claims, but irreparably hateful to 19,000 innocent Floridians just trying to get by during the recession,” said whistleblower Dianne Parcell.
Compromised credit scores have likely made it harder for these approximately 19,000 Floridians to buy or refinance a home, buy or lease a car to get to work, and obtain loans to return to school or train for new jobs. It also means unwarranted harassment from agencies tasked with recovering money not owed to the state.
The case at hand is Dianne Parcell, Plaintiff v. State of Florida, Department of Economic Opportunity, CN: 2013-CA-1003.
Tallahassee attorneys Keisha Rice and Patrick Frank at Frank and Rice P.A. represented the whistleblower. Rice is a former State Deputy Director of Tourism Trade and Economic Development.