Department of Business and Professional Regulation Cracks Illegal Licensing Scheme
April 22, 2009
ORANGE PARK—Following a year-and-a-half-long investigation by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, yesterday the Orange Park Police Department arrested Jeannie Chin at the Orange Park Beauty Academy, for selling false documents needed to obtain a cosmetology license. Chin is believed to have received money from individuals in exchange for certifications from the cosmetology school, which were then given to the department as proof of completion of education requirements for licensure. At least six people who illegally obtained licenses have voluntarily relinquished them. DBPR continues to investigate to determine whether there are more.
DBPR partnered with the Department of Education, which has regulatory authority over the school, the Orange Park Police Department and the State Attorney's Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit to execute the arrest. The illegal licensing scheme was exposed after Chin sold fake credentials to an undercover investigator.
“It is our duty to protect Florida’s consumers, and I believe yesterday’s action demonstrates that we take this duty very seriously,” said DBPR Secretary Charles W. Drago. “This operation would not have been possible without collaboration among several agencies, and I thank them for their support and commitment to public safety.”
In an effort to uncover more licenses that were falsely obtained, DBPR will be reviewing license information for those licensees who received their education from the Orange Park Beauty Academy from 2006 to 2008. DBPR is committed to ensuring that all licenses are obtained based on competency and completion of requirements.
Officials from the Department of Education were on-hand to ensure a smooth transition for students currently attending the school. Before her arrest, DOE served Chin with a letter of investigation. DOE staff will also be reviewing student records for accuracy.
“Consumer protection is a team effort that requires constant communication and collaboration between entities in order to be successful,” said Samuel Ferguson, Executive Director of the Commission of Independent Education. “Today’s operation is a shining example of this type of interaction, and I’m pleased to have partnered with DBPR to bring this fraudulent activity to a close.”
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit MyFloridaLicense.com.