Section 517.191, Florida Statutes 2009
517.191 Injunction to restrain violations; civil penalties; enforcement by Attorney General.--
(1) When it appears to the office, either upon complaint or otherwise, that a person has engaged or is about to engage in any act or practice constituting a violation of this chapter or a rule or order hereunder, the office may investigate; and whenever it shall believe from evidence satisfactory to it that any such person has engaged, is engaged, or is about to engage in any act or practice constituting a violation of this chapter or a rule or order hereunder, the office may, in addition to any other remedies, bring action in the name and on behalf of the state against such person and any other person concerned in or in any way participating in or about to participate in such practices or engaging therein or doing any act or acts in furtherance thereof or in violation of this chapter to enjoin such person or persons from continuing such fraudulent practices or engaging therein or doing any act or acts in furtherance thereof or in violation of this chapter. In any such court proceedings, the office may apply for, and on due showing be entitled to have issued, the court's subpoena requiring forthwith the appearance of any defendant and her or his employees, associated persons, or agents and the production of documents, books, and records that may appear necessary for the hearing of such petition, to testify or give evidence concerning the acts or conduct or things complained of in such application for injunction. In such action, the equity courts shall have jurisdiction of the subject matter, and a judgment may be entered awarding such injunction as may be proper.
(2) In addition to all other means provided by law for the enforcement of any temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or permanent injunction issued in any such court proceedings, the court shall have the power and jurisdiction, upon application of the office, to impound and to appoint a receiver or administrator for the property, assets, and business of the defendant, including, but not limited to, the books, records, documents, and papers appertaining thereto. Such receiver or administrator, when appointed and qualified, shall have all powers and duties as to custody, collection, administration, winding up, and liquidation of said property and business as shall from time to time be conferred upon her or him by the court. In any such action, the court may issue orders and decrees staying all pending suits and enjoining any further suits affecting the receiver's or administrator's custody or possession of the said property, assets, and business or, in its discretion, may with the consent of the presiding judge of the circuit require that all such suits be assigned to the circuit court judge appointing the said receiver or administrator.
(3) In addition to, or in lieu of, any other remedies provided by this chapter, the office may apply to the court hearing this matter for an order directing the defendant to make restitution of those sums shown by the office to have been obtained in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter. The office has standing to request such restitution on behalf of victims in cases brought by the office under this chapter, regardless of the appointment of an administrator or receiver under subsection (2) or an injunction under subsection (1). Further, such restitution shall, at the option of the court, be payable to the administrator or receiver appointed pursuant to this section or directly to the persons whose assets were obtained in violation of this chapter.
(4) In addition to any other remedies provided by this chapter, the office may apply to the court hearing the matter for, and the court shall have jurisdiction to impose, a civil penalty against any person found to have violated any provision of this chapter, any rule or order adopted by the commission or office, or any written agreement entered into with the office in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for a natural person or $25,000 for any other person, or the gross amount of any pecuniary gain to such defendant for each such violation other than a violation of s. 517.301 plus $50,000 for a natural person or $250,000 for any other person, or the gross amount of any pecuniary gain to such defendant for each violation of s. 517.301. All civil penalties collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the Anti-Fraud Trust Fund.
(5) In addition to all other means provided by law for enforcing any of the provisions of this chapter, when the Attorney General, upon complaint or otherwise, has reason to believe that a person has engaged or is engaged in any act or practice constituting a violation of s. 517.275, s. 517.301, s. 517.311, or s. 517.312, or any rule or order issued under such sections, the Attorney General may investigate and bring an action to enforce these provisions as provided in ss. 517.171, 517.201, and 517.2015 after receiving written approval from the office. Such an action may be brought against such person and any other person in any way participating in such act or practice or engaging in such act or practice or doing any act in furtherance of such act or practice, to obtain injunctive relief, restitution, civil penalties, and any remedies provided for in this section. The Attorney General may recover any costs and attorney fees related to the Attorney General's investigation or enforcement of this section. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, moneys recovered by the Attorney General for costs, attorney fees, and civil penalties for a violation of s. 517.275, s. 517.301, s. 517.311, or s. 517.312, or any rule or order issued pursuant 1to such sections, shall be deposited in the Legal Affairs Revolving Trust Fund. The Legal Affairs Revolving Trust Fund may be used to investigate and enforce this section.
(6) This section does not limit the authority of the office to bring an administrative action against any person that is the subject of a civil action brought pursuant to this section or limit the authority of the office to engage in investigations or enforcement actions with the Attorney General. However, a person may not be subject to both a civil penalty under subsection (4) and an administrative fine under s. 517.221(3) as the result of the same facts.
(7) Notwithstanding s. 95.11(4)(e), an enforcement action brought under this section based on a violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule or order issued under this chapter shall be brought within 6 years after the facts giving rise to the cause of action were discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but not more than 8 years after the date such violation occurred.
History.--s. 5, ch. 78-435; s. 5, ch. 80-254; s. 395, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 12, ch. 85-165; ss. 14, 15, ch. 90-362; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 684, ch. 97-103; s. 603, ch. 2003-261; s. 11, ch. 2009-242.
1Note.--The word "to" was inserted by the editors.