Except as provided in s. 501.2077 , any person, firm, corporation, association, or entity, or any agent or employee of the foregoing, who is willfully using, or has willfully used, a method, act, or practice declared unlawful under s. 501.204 , or who is willfully violating any of the rules of the department adopted under this part, is liable for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each such violation. Willful violations occur when the person knew or should have known that his or her conduct was unfair or deceptive or prohibited by rule. This civil penalty may be recovered in any action brought under this part by the enforcing authority; or the enforcing authority may terminate any investigation or action upon agreement by the person, firm, corporation, association, or entity, or the agent or employee of the foregoing, to pay a stipulated civil penalty. The department or the court may waive any such civil penalty if the person, firm, corporation, association, or entity, or the agent or employee of the foregoing, has previously made full restitution or reimbursement or has paid actual damages to the consumers or governmental entities who have been injured by the unlawful act or practice or rule violation. If civil penalties are assessed in any litigation, the enforcing authority is entitled to reasonable attorney's fees and costs. A civil penalty so collected shall accrue to the state and shall be deposited as received into the General Revenue Fund unallocated.
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