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Medicaid Fraud: Crime, no punishment

By all accounts, Florida is a hotbed of Medicaid fraud. The state spends $25 million and has 300 people to detect and investigate it but is lousy at catching Medicaid crooks. Read the full story and see the rest of our special report on Medicaid fraud in Florida:

» Pac-Man - Medicaid's Budget Consumption
» Medicaid Fraud Fighters
» Taking Credit for Fighting Medicaid Fraud in Florida
» Scam Orders - Investigating Financial Fraud, Abuse and Neglect

Biotech industry aims for growth

Build it and they will come. Gov. Jeb Bush took the first step, selling the state Legislature in 2003 on the promise of a biotech industry in Florida with an investment in Scripps research institute. Nearly 10 years later, they are coming: the venture capitalists, specialists in technology transfer, researchers and entrepreneurs. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Perk package: Renters enjoy upscale amenities

When it came to amenities, apartment dwellers used to get stuck with just the basics: a swimming pool, a walk-in closet of a clubhouse and maybe a treadmill or two. But today's renters are enjoying an array of unusual and high-end extras, from dog parks to vegetable gardens to wine tastings, as developers respond to increasing demand from non-traditional tenants. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Mugshots: The hot new Internet business

It’s a hot Internet business: Get mugshots for free from government websites, put them on your own websites and then demand money when irate people plead to have their photos removed. The mugshot websites say they are simply providing a service that many people love to view, while critics say they’re the latest example of how the Internet and social networking is severely reducing people’s privacy. [Source: Miami Herald]

Cost cutter helps businesses find savings in budgets

Business owners know there are two ways to boost the bottom line — sell more or spend less. In a slow-growth economy, businesses find it easier to spend less, and that’s part of the appeal of Lee Ferry’s Wellington-based company. Ferry runs National Cost Containment, a nine-person consulting firm that helps businesses ferret out fat in their budgets. [Source: Palm Beach Post]


› Haitian TV network launching in South Florida
A new Haitian TV network is debuting in South Florida, broadcasting mainly in Creole to fast-growing Haitian communities from Delray Beach to Florida City. Haitian Digital Television is the brainchild of film producer and TV veteran Claude Mancuso, who ran a local 24-hour Haitian cable TV channel that closed in 2006.

› Downtown Orlando high-tech startups rent by the chair
Downtown Orlando office vacancy rates of 18 percent have softened prices and leases enough that penny-pinching startups can afford space in a glass-enclosed high rise at the center of downtown.

› Construction executive evolves with the economy
A summer construction job catapulted Robert W. Simmons into a career as a builder. By the time of the boom in the early 2000s, Simmons’ business model had evolved to include custom–building $20 million homes. When the construction industry crashed, his business survived by adapting.

› Miami tourism bureau expands focus to globe
Miami’s tourism bureau, a group that likes very much to draw attention to the region, is focussing attention on some other places. At the annual meeting for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the theme was expansion of global efforts, and the targets included Bolivia, Russia, Scandinavia, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

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› Pam Bondi reaches deal on Florida's $300 million foreclosure settlement
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Friday that she has reached a deal with state lawmakers over how to use $300 million in foreclosure settlement money that has sat dormant since April as top officials have haggled over who had authority to spend the cash.

› Astronomical insurance? This man fought back
Whatever effect, if any, that Hurricane Sandy may eventually have on Florida insurance bills, premiums are already spiking for Fred Goetz and hundreds of thousands of his fellow residents. Goetz, one of IBM’s “Dirty Dozen” engineers who cooked up the original PC, proved to be a guy unwilling to take an eye-popping price hike lying down.

› Column: Florida should charge less for in-demand degrees
The governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education is about to finalize its report, six months in the making, that proposes some radical — at least for the governor and Legislature — ideas.

› South Florida private equity firms build businesses
Local private equity firms raise billions and funnel the money into investments in businesses with the goal of boosting revenues and profits. If you have a pension, you, too, may be an investor.