(1) The department may make investigations and examinations within or outside this state of claims, reports, and other records as it deems necessary to administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter. In such investigations and examinations the department may administer oaths, examine witnesses, issue subpoenas, and otherwise gather evidence. The department may request any person who has not filed a report under s. 717.117 to file a verified report stating whether or not the person is holding any unclaimed property reportable or deliverable under this chapter.
(2) Subpoenas for witnesses whose evidence is deemed material to any investigation or examination under this section may be issued by the department under seal of the department, or by any court of competent jurisdiction, commanding such witnesses to appear before the department at a time and place named and to bring such books, records, and documents as may be specified or to submit such books, records, and documents to inspection. Such subpoenas may be served by an authorized representative of the department.
(3) If any person shall refuse to testify, produce books, records, and documents, or otherwise refuse to obey a subpoena issued under this section, the department may present its petition to a court of competent jurisdiction in or for the county in which such person resides or has its principal place of business, whereupon the court shall issue its rule nisi requiring such person to obey forthwith the subpoena issued by the department or show cause for failing to obey said subpoena. Unless said person shows sufficient cause for failing to obey the subpoena, the court shall forthwith direct such person to obey the same subject to such punishment as the court may direct including, but not limited to, the restraint, by injunction or by appointment of a receiver, of any transfer, pledge, assignment, or other disposition of such person’s assets or any concealment, alteration, destruction, or other disposition of subpoenaed books, records, or documents as the court deems appropriate, until such person has fully complied with such subpoena and the department has completed its investigation or examination. The department is entitled to the summary procedure provided in s. 51.011, and the court shall advance the cause on its calendar. Costs incurred by the department to obtain an order granting, in whole or in part, its petition shall be taxed against the subpoenaed person, and failure to comply with such order shall be a contempt of court.
(4) Witnesses shall be entitled to the same fees and mileage as they may be entitled by law for attending as witnesses in the circuit court, except where such examination or investigation is held at the place of business or residence of the witness.
(5) The material compiled by the department in an investigation or examination under this chapter is confidential until the investigation or examination is complete. The material compiled by the department in an investigation or examination under this chapter remains confidential after the department’s investigation or examination is complete if the department has submitted the material or any part of it to any law enforcement agency or other administrative agency for further investigation or for the filing of a criminal or civil prosecution and such investigation has not been completed or become inactive.
(6) If an investigation or an examination of the records of any person results in the disclosure of property reportable and deliverable under this chapter, the department may assess the cost of investigation or the examination against the holder at the rate of $100 per 8-hour day for each investigator or examiner. Such fee shall be calculated on an hourly basis and shall be rounded to the nearest hour. The person shall also pay the travel expense and per diem subsistence allowance provided for state employees in s. 112.061. The person shall not be required to pay a per diem fee and expenses of an examination or investigation which shall consume more than 30 worker-days in any one year unless such examination or investigation is due to fraudulent practices of the person, in which case such person shall be required to pay the entire cost regardless of time consumed. The fee shall be remitted to the department within 30 days after the date of the notification that the fee is due and owing. Any person who fails to pay the fee within 30 days after the date of the notification that the fee is due and owing shall pay to the department interest at the rate of 12 percent per annum on such fee from the date of the notification.
History.—s. 31, ch. 87-105; s. 1, ch. 94-262; s. 131, ch. 2004-390.