TALLAHASSEE After several months of investigations, dozens of suspects from Pensacola to Miami will be arrested the week of January 22nd for insurance fraud schemes that totaled at least $1 million. Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the three-day operation as it kicked off Tuesday, stating she wants to send a strong message that Florida will not tolerate this costly crime.
In Miami, an early-morning sweep already netted three arrest of suspects accused of bilking the insurance industry on Tuesday.
“Those who commit insurance fraud may think they are only hurting insurance companies, but insurance fraud causes real financial pain and hurts families, businesses and communities,” said Sink, who as CFO oversees the department (DFS). “Anyone found guilty of insurance fraud in Florida will pay for their crime.”
The operation targets nearly 80 individuals wanted on criminal charges ranging from staging automobile accidents to grand theft, and the arrests will continue through Thursday. The division’s operation is being organized through the division’s regional offices. The charges are being prosecuted by state attorney offices in the various jurisdictions. Potential sentences could range from five years to 30 years in prison per count.
The majority of the charges fall largely under workers’ compensation fraud, including both claim fraud and employer fraud. The second-largest category of charges involves auto insurance fraud, from staged accidents to fraudulent Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance claims. Some of the cases involve insurance agents accused of defrauding customers and several homeowner claim fraud cases.
Insurance fraud in Florida has been estimated to cost Floridians as much as $1,400 a year. Depending on the estimated loss amount, the department will pay up to $25,000 for information directly leading to an arrest and conviction.
To report insurance fraud, call the department’s Fraud Fighters hotline at 1-800-378-0445 Click here to report incidents of insurance fraud. Complaints can be tracked online.