Author Archives: Patricia Preciado

10 Unlicensed Workers Arrested in Fraud Sting

Florida Department of Financial Services and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office launched ‘Operation Stonewall,’ a three-day fraud sting to catch contractors allegedly agreeing to perform work without the required licenses and proper workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Ten individuals were arrested in the fraud sting and could serve up to 5 years in prison if convicted.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Unlicensed Contractors

17 Unlicensed Contractors Arrested in Sarasota County Sting Operation

Sarasota law enforcement partnered with the Sarasota County Building Department, the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on a sting operation to bust seventeen people who were allegedly doing unlicensed contract work.

During the three-day operation, detectives waited to see if the potential workers were licensed, registered, and insured to perform the work. The sting resulted in 17 arrests with 21 felony charges and 15 misdemeanor charges.

Click here for the news story.

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Filed under Unlicensed Contractors

Contractor and Suspected Fraudster Prohibited from Betting While Case is Ongoing

The News4Jax I-TEAM spotted Wyatt Green, a Jacksonville contractor suspected of insurance fraud, betting thousands in a Best Bet poker room while out on bond. Green was just arrested and charged with felony forgery, fraud, and grand theft a month ago.

Green and his team are accused of taking insurance money meant to pay for customers’ repairs, but not completing the work. The State Attorney’s Office changed his bond conditions as a result of the I-TEAM investigation, keeping him from betting or gambling while his case is ongoing.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud, Uncategorized

Miami-Dade Public Adjusters Facing Charges for Insurance Fraud Ring

Public adjuster Barbara Gonzalez and at least eight more suspects were arrested in insurance fraud ring in Miami-Dade. Gonzalez ran a public adjusting company Rubicon Group and the alleged ringleader of the fraud scheme.

Gonzalez’s charges include a $75,000 claim for fake water damage and repairs from a plumber that did not exist. She is also on the hook for three other false damage claims dating back to 2013.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud

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

Lake Mary Man Arrested for Posing As Insurance Agent

Michael Hensley of Lake Mary has been arrested for falsely presenting himself as an insurance agent and providing general liability insurance for two Seminole County businesses. This isn’t the first time Hensley’s been accused of posing as an insurance agent and stealing money from local business owners.

While Hensley’s license expired in 2015, he’s pocketed $72,000 in insurance premiums over the years. The business owners would discover that they were not covered when attempting to file a claim.

Claims for damage due to Hurricane Irma uncovered Hensley’s alleged scheme causing one business over to pay $18,000 out of pocket to fix the roof of his business due to the storm.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Insurance Fraud

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

Florida Insurance Leaders Hope to Rein In AOB Crisis

The Florida insurance industry is hoping to put an end to its AOB crisis with education. Barry Gilway, president, CEO and executive director of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. says the key to slowing Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse in Florida is for the insurance industry to link AOB to its impact on the consumer and the premiums they are paying.

Insurance carriers from across the state have seen an increase in litigation due to AOB lawsuits from homeowners who work with unlicensed contractors who file inflated and fake claims on their behalf. According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, AOB lawsuits in Florida have increased from 405 to 28,200 between 2006 and 2016 with South Florida being the worst region for this issue.

Florida insurance industry leaders are hoping for a legislative fix with the new Senate leadership coming in next year.

Click here to read the full article.

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Filed under AOB, 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