A Pompano Beach woman who sold fraudulent life insurance policies to elderly military veterans and their families has been arrested and charged with insurance fraud, according to an April 1 announcement by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater.
Patrice Sands sold the policies to members of Make-A-Wish Veterans, Inc., a Miami company providing assistance to veterans. According to investigators, Sands sold the policies, collected premiums, and deposited those premiums into a bank account tied to her business, Universal Research Group Insurance Agency. She never actually procured the policies, however.
When her husband died, one 84-year-old victim attempted to collect the death benefits due her under the policy she had purchased from Sands. No benefits were received, however, and Sands told the widow that the insurance company had “gone under.” Sands then sought return of the life insurance certificate and allegedly destroyed it. A check written by Sands to refund the woman’s premiums bounced due to insufficient funds.
If convicted, Sands faces up to 25 years in prison and the suspension of her insurance agent license.
Since July 2014, the Division of Insurance Fraud has arrested 59 insurance agents, bail bond agents, and public adjusters for fraud that has totaled almost $4.5 million dollars.