Tag Archives: Property Insurance

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 Fraud, Property (Homeowners)

Florida Legislature Passes Assignment of Benefits Reform Bill

On April 24, 2019, by a vote of 25-14 the Florida Senate passed SB 122 that addresses AOB’s for residential or commercial property insurance claims and limits attorney’s fees related to AOB agreements. The Senate bill was a committee substitute for House Bill 7065, which passed the House on April 11, 2019. Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill which would become law effective July 1, 2019. Click here to view the entire Bill: Florida SB 122/HB 7065

Contact us for more information or to discuss the implications of this significant change in Florida law.

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Filed under Legislation, Property (Homeowners)

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

Palmetto Bay Man Arrested for Insurance Fraud and Grand Theft

Carlos Guillermo Aponte of Palmetto Bay was arrested in September for three counts of insurance fraud and grand theft for allegedly defrauding Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The Department of Financial Services’ Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) investigated Aponte after receiving a tip about fraudulent invoices and false rental agreements with letters claiming lost of rent for more than $30,000.

Aponte could face prison time of up to 45 years and fines up to $45,000.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Tampa Bay Roofing Insurance Scammers Busted in Connecticut

Carlton DeWayne Dunko and Frank Martin Pureber, once known for using their former company NBRC Construction in a roofing insurance scam that cheated nearly 100 Tampa Bay residents out of at least $632,000 have taken their talents to Connecticut.

After serving two years in a Florida prison and being placed on probation, Dunko and Pureber fled to Connecticut to start a similar operation, CTST Construction. Dunko was leading a sales meeting in Milford, CT when Florida fraud agents busted him. They have been found guilty of larceny and sentenced to a year in a Connecticut prison.

When Dunko and Pureber finish their Connecticut prison time, they will face trial for the alleged fraud they committed in Missouri with another roofing company, American Shingle and Siding.

Click here to read the article.

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Filed under Uncategorized

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 Property (Homeowners)

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 Property (Homeowners)

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 Property (Homeowners)

Contractor Charged with Grand Theft and Racketeering in AOB Fraud Scheme

According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Timothy Matthew Cox, owner of Nationwide Catastrophe Services, Inc. and Restoration Response Services, Inc., has been arrested for an alleged Assignment of Benefits (AOB) fraud scheme, stealing nearly $140,000 for home repairs due to tropical weather events that he never provided. Cox’s scheme impacted 19 homeowners throughout Florida and Texas, leaving the victims’ homes to sustain additional damage from other tropical weather events, including Hurricane Irma.

Cox’s team never started any of the work they were contracted to perform on the 19 homes after receiving insurance payments. He was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail facing multiple counts of grand theft and racketeering. Cox could face up to 30 years in jail.

Click here for press release.

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Filed under Fraud

Former Mayor of Tavares, FL Admits to Committing Insurance Fraud

According to WFTV Action 9 News, Robert Wolfe, former Tavares Mayor admitted to committing insurance fraud as part of a plea deal he made with the state. Wolfe was arrested in July after investigators found that Wolfe had reported to the insurance company that he had rented a home for $2,350 a month and had to board his dogs for $1,800 a month due to a leak in his home that needed to be repaired. However, investigators found that Wolfe never moved into the rental.

Wolfe will be placed on probation for 18 months and has been ordered to pay all investigative and court costs. He was also removed from his mayoral seat in July and has since resigned. Once Wolfe completes the 18 month pretrial intervention program, charges will be dismissed.

Click here to view the full story.

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