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FLORIDA STATE COMPTROLLER ANNOUNCES CREATION OF TASK FORCE TO REVIEW OPERATIONS OF MONEY TRANSMITTERS IN FLORIDA

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- State Comptroller Gerald Lewis announced today the creation of a task force to review the operations of money transmitters in Florida.
 The 14-member task force will study the operations of money order issuers, check cashing establishments, wire transfer houses and currency exchanges. This effort will result in a recommendation to the Comptroller on the necessity of regulating the industry from a money laundering deterrence or consumer protection perspective.
 Lewis appointed Douglas E. Ebert, the former president and chief executive officer of Southeast Banking Corporation, as chairman. Ebert is currently president of D.E. Ebert & Associates, Inc., a management consulting firm established in 1991.
 Four members of the Florida Legislature, Senator Roberto Casas, Senator Ha?rd Forman, Representative Beryl Burke and Representative Carlos Valdes will also serve on the panel.
 Other members include: Bruce Buckley, senior research associate, Institute for Intergovernmental Research; Joe Doyle, president, Florida Check Cashers Association; Mariano Fernandez, senior vice president, Terrabank, N.A.; Tom Heider, legislative counsel, Travelers Express; Doug Hughes, executive director, South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area; Rich Jordanger, corporate director, Regulatory Affairs, Western Union Financial Services, Inc.; William Richey, Richey & Munroe; Sue Sweeney, senior vice president, Thomas Cook Currency Services; and Dr. John Zdanowicz, director, Center for Banking and Financial Institutions, Florida International University.
 "The money transmitter industry has been under a great deal of scrutiny at the state and federal level," Lewis said. "There is a perception that transmitters are increasingly being used to launder illicit funds. While portions of the industry have been diligent in implementing controls to deter laundering, I believe it is time to evaluate the extent to which increased regulation of the industry would complement industry efforts."
 Another factor to be reviewed is the extent to which the consumers of money transmittal services are adequately protected from unscrupulous operators.
 "As the use of money transmitters by Florida's citizens is escalating, we need to determine if the public is being harmed by the fact that the industry is largely unregulated," Lewis said.
 Florida currently regulates only money order issuers, as do roughly 30 states. In recent years, other states, including New York, Texas and Arizona, have significantly enhanced their regulatory authority over the other portions of the industry.
 The task force will hold its first meeting at 10:30 a.m., August 11 in Room 301 of the Senate Office Building in Tallahassee.
 -0- 7/28/93
 /CONTACT: Tom Wells of the Office of the Comptroller, 904-488-0195/


CO: Florida Office of the Comptroller ST: Florida IN: FIN SU:

AW-PC -- FL009 -- 6726 07/28/93 12:38 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 28, 1993
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