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Several Florida Republicans Join Bipartisan Effort To Punish Crooks Who Scam Veterans

Coinciding with Veterans Day, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including several from Florida, filed a bill to protect military veterans from scams.

Coinciding with Veterans Day, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including several from Florida, filed a bill to protect military veterans from scams.

Led by Rep. Tim Burchett, a Tennessee Republican, the House members introduced the Veterans Protection from Fraud Act.

The bill would tack on up to 10 years to a prison sentence for a criminal convicted of committing or conspiring to commit telemarketing or email marketing fraud aimed at a veteran of any age, according to a release from Burchett’s office.

The release cited an AARP survey that found veterans are twice as likely as the general public to be victims of a scam. Additionally, 80 percent of military personnel or veterans report being targeted by scams directly related to their military service or benefits. 

AARP notes that such scams often involve schemes encouraging vets to hand over their pension and/or disability benefits for a lump-sum payment that is never made, paying for phony updates of military records, and requests for donations to fake veteran or military charities.

Joining Burchett in this cause were Florida Republican Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Scott Franklin, Rep. Matt Gaetz, María Elvira Salazar, and Greg Steube.

The bill is supported by AARP, American Gold Star Mothers, Association of Mature American Citizens, Blinded American Veterans Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, The Retired Enlisted Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

In a statement, Steube, a Sarasota Republican, and an Army veteran said, “We must ensure our veterans are protected from the despicable individuals attempting to take advantage of them.”

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