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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 497
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F.S. 497.149
497.149 Investigations, hearings, and inspections.
(1) INVESTIGATIONS.Investigations shall be conducted by the department. The following provisions shall apply concerning investigations:
(a) There shall be investigated all complaints directly or indirectly alleging violation of any provision of this chapter or rules adopted pursuant to this chapter. Investigations may be conducted regarding any applicant for licensure under this chapter to ensure that the applicant satisfies the requirements for licensure and to ensure the accuracy and truthfulness of any matters represented to the department or the board in connection with the application. There may be such investigations of persons and entities not licensed under this chapter to determine if they are engaging in activities for which a license under this chapter is required, or are otherwise in violation of this chapter, as is deemed necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter. There may be conducted such other investigations, in addition to investigations expressly authorized or required by this chapter, as are deemed necessary or advisable by the department to determine whether any person is, has, or may violate any provision of this chapter or to secure information useful in the lawful administration of this chapter.
(b) Every person and entity being investigated, and its officers, attorneys, unless it violates the attorney-client privilege, employees, agents, and representatives, shall make freely available to the department the accounts, records, documents, files, information, assets, business premises, and matters in their possession or control relating to the subject of the investigation. If records relating to a licensee or to activities regulated by this chapter are maintained by an agent on premises owned or operated by a third party, the agent and the third party shall provide the department access to the records.
(c) If the department finds any accounts or records of a licensee required by this chapter to be created and maintained by the licensee to be inadequate or inadequately kept or posted, it may employ experts to reconstruct, rewrite, post, or balance them at the expense of the person being investigated, provided the person has failed to maintain, complete, or correct such records or accounting after the department has given the licensee notice and a reasonable opportunity to do so.
(d) In connection with any investigation under this chapter, the department may administer oaths, examine witnesses, and receive oral and documentary evidence, require the licensee to answer under oath interrogatories propounded by the department, issue a subpoena for testimony or the production of records to any person believed to have information or materials relevant to the subject matter of the investigation, and compel such attendance and testimony and the production of such materials for inspection and copying. If any person refuses to comply with any such subpoena or to testify as to any matter concerning which she or he may be lawfully interrogated, the Circuit Court of Leon County or of the county wherein such examination, investigation, or hearing is being conducted, or of the county wherein such person resides, may, on the application of the department, issue an order requiring such person to comply with the subpoena and to testify. Subpoenas may be served, and proof of such service made, by any employee of the department.
(e) The department may retain and pay such experts on a case-by-case basis, as it deems necessary for the investigation and prosecution, if any, of any alleged violation of this chapter.
(2) INSPECTIONS.The department may conduct such inspections of a licensee’s premises and records during normal business hours, at such intervals, as the department deems necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter.
(a) Inspections may be announced or unannounced as the department determines appropriate on a case-by-case basis.
(b) Every licensee being inspected, and its employees, officers, attorneys, unless it violates the attorney-client privilege, employees, agents, and representatives, shall freely and immediately make available to the department for inspection during normal business hours the licensee’s entire premises and the records and information in their possession or control relating to the inspection.
(c) The department may adopt rules regarding inspection procedures.
(3) HEARINGS.The department may hold public hearings to secure information useful in the lawful administration of this chapter. The department may require the attendance of witnesses by subpoena and the giving of testimony under oath.
(4) RULES.The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 for the implementation of this section.
History.s. 19, ch. 2004-301; s. 11, ch. 2005-155.