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FRDA Holds Two Economic Crime Council Meetings

March 4, 2004 - The FRDA Economic Crime Council of the Fourth Judicial Circuit held meetings in Jacksonville on Jan. 20 and Feb. 17. Attendance at both meetings is showing steady improvement.

The guest speaker for the Jan. 20 meeting was Jim Patrick, Administrator for the Duval County State Attorneys Offices Rental Theft Diversion Program. Patrick, who conceived and implemented the model used for the Worthless Check Diversion Programs used throughout Florida, has been with the State Attorneys Office for 22 years. In addition to explaining the mechanics of the Diversion Program, Patrick fielded numerous questions from FRDA members. He extended his congratulations to Rick Heritage, Legal Affairs Director for Buddy's Home Furnishings, for accomplishing in a few months something that he had been unsuccessful at for 22 years…bringing the RTO dealers together in camaraderie to discuss mutual problems and forewarn each other of potential problems.

Represented at the January meeting were Buddy's Home Furnishings, Z-Best Rentals, Rent King, Rent Rite and Rent Way.

At the Feb. 17 meeting, the guest speaker was Detective Steve Carver of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Detective Carver addressed a number of issues pertinent to the RTO industry, including fraud and elements necessary for criminal prosecution under Section 812.155 of the Florida Statutes, Failure to Redeliver Hired or Leased Property. Detective Carver stated that, if the RTO stores in the Tri-County area continue to get the proper information, including thumbprints, his Office will cooperate fully in investigations and arrests.

Represented at the February meeting were Buddy's Home Furnishings, Z-Best Rentals, Rent King, Rent Rite and Rent Way and Zoom Rent-To-Own. FRDA President Terry Beville addressed the importance of the Crime Council and thanked all in attendance for their invaluable cooperation and input.

The next scheduled meeting is March 16. Mike Mortis of Z-Best Rentals chairs the Council and has arranged for a guest speaker from the 4th Judicial Circuit State Attorneys Office.