Tag Archives: insurance

Duval County Public Schools Principal Arrested for Insurance Fraud

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Darrell Perry, a Jacksonville elementary school principal for allegedly trying to submit altered insurance claims and false invoices for over $16,000 in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Investigators found Perry submitted fraudulent and fabricated repair invoices requesting reimbursement from State Farm due to alleged damages from Hurricane Irma.  Perry has turned himself in and now faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Click here to read the press release.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud

Three Unlicensed Contractors Banned for Post-Storm Fraud

According to the Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis, three unlicensed contractors in Leon, Gadsden and Gulf counties have been banned from soliciting and conducting any work in Florida pending a full investigation. The Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team is investigating additional reports of potential fraud in Bay, Gulf, Washington and Leon counties. CFO Patronis is stressing the importance of verifying professional license information and whether the company has workers’ comp insurance before you hire a contractor.

Here’s a list of Tips to Stop Post-Storm Fraud:

  • Beware of Crooked Contractors.
  • Don’t Sign Anything.
  • Too Good to Be True? It Probably Is.
  • Beware of Door-to-Door.
  • Check a License.

Click here to read the press release.

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Filed under Fraud

Tampa Bay Businessmen Indicted in Billion Dollar Insurance Fraud Scheme

Four Pinellas County businessmen, Andrew Assad, Peter Bolos, Michael Palso and Larry Everett Smith have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, mail fraud and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. The conspiracy involved using their telemedicine business called HealthRight and compounding pharmacy companies to deceive patients, doctors, insurance carriers by fraudulently soliciting insurance coverage information and prescriptions, mark up the prices of the invalidly prescribed drugs, and bill insurance carriers. One of the compounding pharmacies, Alpha-Omega in Clearwater, allegedly charged $374 for $35-worth of lidocaine – a 969-percent markup.

According to the indictment, the men defrauded Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee out of approximately $174,000,000. Another Bay area man, Scott Roix, already please guilty to felony conspiracy in this case and another case involving wire fraud. Assad, Bolos, Palso, and Smith could face prison terms of over 30 years, fines up to $250,000 and probation for their charges.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Healthcare Fraud

FL Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier Warns Homeowners to Protect Themselves

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier issued a warning to residents facing damage from Tropical Storm Gordon be careful and to make sure they fully read and understand any documents they sign in Gordon’s aftermath. Altmaier has been an outspoken critic of the ongoing assignment of benefits abuse happening in the state of Florida.

Many insurers throughout Florida have been seeing an uptick in litigation due to the inflated and fraudulent claims stemming from unlicensed contractors who have homeowners sign over their insurance policy rights in exchange for needed repairs to their homes.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis also issued a warning to consumers to protect themselves against fraud and has activated the Florida Department of Financial Services Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) for the 2018 hurricane season.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Assignment of Benefits, Property Insurance

4th DCA Finds AOB Without All Insureds’ and Mortgagees Signatures Unenforceable

On Wednesday, September 5, 2018 the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that assignment of benefits (AOB) without all insureds’ and mortgagees signatures are unenforceable. The appellate court found no problems with an insurer requiring consent from all insureds and mortgagees, which is good news at a time when AOB abuse is such a big issue in Florida.

Visit Law360 (subscription required) or Justia for more information on this ruling.

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Filed under Assignment of Benefits, Insurance, Property Insurance

Vero Beach Acupuncturist Charged with Insurance Fraud and Racketeering

Jill Jaynes of Absolute Integrated Medicine in Vero Beach has been arrested and charged with insurance fraud totaling nearly $1.5 million, racketeering and more. If Jaynes is convicted, she could face up to 135 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Healthcare Fraud, Insurance, Insurance Fraud

Pinellas County Sheriff Going After Unlicensed Contractors

Thirty people were arrested in a three-day sting to “flush-out” unlicensed contractors preying on property owners in Pinellas County. The sting produced at least 60 felony and misdemeanor charges against the violators. Operation Flush Out is Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s third sting since October 2017.

A Tampa Bay Times’ investigation in 2017 revealed how the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board preferred to punish unlicensed contractors with fines rather than pursue violations in criminal court. Contracting without a license carries a misdemeanor for first-time offenses and a felony the second time.

Pinellas County government took control of the agency on July 1st. Gualtieri launched the Construction Licensing Investigative Unit and trained deputies to investigate contracting crimes. The department’s previous stings in October and February netted more than 45 arrests and dozens of charges.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Insurance, Property Insurance

FL Man Poses As NJ Doctor to Submit $1M in Fraud Claims

A Florida man, Yoandi Marrero, has been charged with insurance fraud, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception and identity theft after assuming a New Jersey doctor’s identity to submit more than $1 million in fraudulent medical claims. The services were never rendered and the medical center did not exist.

Marrero was found out when a woman claimed a doctor had billed her insurance for services that were never rendered.

Click here to read the full story.

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Filed under Florida, Fraud, Insurance, Insurance Claims, Insurance Defense, Insurance Fraud

Florida Public Adjuster Sentenced in $14M Insurance Fraud Plot

Corrupt public adjuster Jorge Fausto Espinosa recruited dozens of homeowners via his firm, Nationwide Adjusters, in an insurance fraud plot where he inflated insurance claims to the tune of $14 million.

Espinosa paid marketers to lure homeowners with free kitchens and remodeling jobs if they allowed him to manufacture damage to their homes. He earned around 30% of the insurance payouts he lined up for the homeowners. Espinosa earned payouts of more than $317,000 at times.

Insurers were pushed to pay overblown insurance payouts from claims resulting from rigged fires to water damaged. Espinosa hit at least 14 insurers with more than 50 inflated claims. He was sentenced to 20 years in state prison for racketeering and insurance fraud among many other charges.

Click here to read the full article.

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Filed under AOB, Florida, Florida Division of Insurance Fraud, Fraud, Insurance, Insurance Claims, Insurance Defense, Insurance Fraud, Property Insurance

Florida CFO Advises Homeowners that Insurance Coverage is Vital to Hurricane Preparedness

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis reminds Florida homeowners that the 2018 Hurricane Season is in full swing and the importance of reviewing their insurance policies to understand the type of coverage it provides.

According to CFO Jimmy Patronis, “Last year, Hurricane Irma alone resulted in more than $8 billion in insured losses. If you haven’t already, now is the time to financially prepare for the 2018 Hurricane Season.” He advises that a vital part of hurricane preparedness is making sure that you understand what is and is not covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy so that you can have adequate coverage.

There are eight insurance coverages homeowners may want to consider for hurricane season:

  • Windstorm Coverage
  • Flood Insurance
  • Food Spoilage
  • Sinkhole Coverage
  • Additional Living Expenses/Loss of Use
  • Inflation Guard Endorsement
  • Replacement Cost Endorsement
  • Law and Ordinance

Once a storm develops, insurance companies may be under binding restrictions and may be unable to obtain a separate policy or add these essential coverages to the current policy. It is imperative that homeowners speak to their insurer to confirm these coverages as soon as possible.

Click here for press release.

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Filed under Florida, Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Matthew, Insurance, Insurance Claims, Property Insurance, Uninsured