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Downtown Miami, near the site where All Aboard Florida would drop off and pick up Brightline riders. Photograph by Sylvain Sonnet — Getty Images

This region is the fraud capital of America

Jul 29, 2015

Shady dealings run amok in sunny South Florida where creative crooks are coming up with scams of every sort, from fake Jamaican lotteries to basic identity theft.

The three-most populous counties in southern Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, are rife with underhanded deals that steal millions from governments, banks and individuals, reports the Associated Press.

Florida ranks No. 1 in identity theft complaints, which were at about 193 per 100,000 residents in 2013, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Bring that down to the local Miami level and it's even worse: 340 complaints per 100,000 residents over the same time period.

South Florida also logs more than 46 times the national average for false federal income tax returns, according to the Treasury Department.

The reason for the local spike isn't totally clear, though some conjecture that elements like South Florida's melting pot culture or the anonymity that comes from so many relocated Americans could support the ongoing fraudulent schemes.

Read more from the Associated Press.

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