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Division Director

Simon J. Blank

Assistant Director

Timothy Cannon


Insurance Fraud
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0318
Contact Us At:
(850) 413-3115
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EAST CENTRAL REGION

 

East Central Region Map

 

The East Central Region is responsible for the enforcement of insurance related crimes committed in Brevard, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Seminole St. Lucie and Volusia counties. To this end, the region has established two field offices: West Palm Beach and Orlando.

The West Palm Beach office is composed of three squads located at 3111 South Dixie Hwy, Suite 310, West Palm Beach, Florida. The Orlando Office is comprised of two squads located at 400 W. Robinson Street, Orlando, Florida.

East Central Region Commander

Captain Glen Hughes

Captain John “Glen” Hughes, a resident of Palm Beach County since 1978, began his 24+ year law enforcement career in 1985 after graduating from the Florida State University, School of Criminology. Captain Hughes was a criminal investigator for the Palm Beach County State Attorney until joining the Division in 1993. During his eight years at the State Attorney's Office, Captain Hughes' many assignments included the investigation of Official Corruption and white collar crime cases working closely with prosecutors in the major crimes unit preparing cases for trial

Captain Hughes is in his eighteenth year of service with the Florida Department of Financial Services, Fraud Division. Hughes was designated Lead Detective in 2000 and promoted to Lieutenant in June 2008. During his tenure with the Division Captain Hughes has investigated numerous major cases, executed and supervised the execution of many search warrants and coordinated the seizure of volumes of documentary evidence. Over the course of his career Hughes has worked closely with the Office of Statewide Prosecution and participated in several statewide Grand Jury initiatives

Captain Hughes was the Division representative on the Safeguard Our Seniors (SOS) Task Force and DFS Senior Protection Team. Captain Hughes has served as a media contact for the division and has appeared in local news articles, local and national television and in Kiplinger’s magazine

In 2009, then Lieutenant Hughes supervised the Division’s first Mortgage Fraud Unit housed in the West Palm Beach Field Office. The Mortgage Fraud Unit’s main objective is to target organized groups that exploited mortgage lenders by falsifying or withholding information in their closing documents. The DFS Mortgage Fraud Unit continues to be a member agency of the FBI Mortgage Fraud Task Force and is presenting cases for prosecution in both Federal and State courts.

In April 2010, Hughes was promoted to Captain and assumed command of the Division’s East Central Region. The East Central Region consists of 23 full-time sworn law enforcement officers working in four squads located in Palm Beach and Orlando.

Captain Hughes is a certified fraud examiner, has taught at the DFS fraud detective’s academy and graduated third in his class from the Southern Police Institute’s (SPI), Command Officer’s Development Course in 2010. Captain Hughes is currently participating in the DFS leadership excellence (LEX) program.

Lieutenant Kurt Harmon, Orlando Field Office

Kurt Harmon grew up on the west coast of Florida and eventually moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida. While there, Lt Harmon was employed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in the communications section. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1998, he obtained his State of Florida law enforcement certification and continued working at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff. During his tenure as a deputy sheriff, he received agency wide awards and recognition for his outstanding work and dedication. Lt Harmon was a field training officer and promoted to deputy first class.

In 2003, Lt Harmon continued his career as a detective with the Division of Insurance Fraud. While learning the field of insurance fraud, Lt Harmon excelled in the workers’ compensation squad and made numerous arrests. He was given the Outstanding Performance Award by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for two consecutive years for his high performance level. Lt Harmon was active on the workers’ compensation fraud task force and participated in subcommittees dedicated to curtailing premium fraud in the construction industry. In 2006, the workers’ compensation fraud task force recognized him for his outstanding service and performance.

On June 1, 2008, Lt. Harmon was promoted to his current position as a lieutenant of the Orlando Field Office. While holding the rank of lieutenant, Lt. Harmon successfully completed the command officers’ development course at the Southern Police Institute and became a certified fraud examiner under the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Lieutenant LAQUANDA GREEN, Orlando Field Office

Lt. Green began her career in law enforcement in 1997 with Orange County Corrections and later advancing her career to a Deputy working in patrol with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, Florida. She continued her career as state law enforcement officer for the Department of Motor Carrier Compliance, working as a compliance review officer, commercial motor vehicle homicide investigator, and an officer on radiological nuclear team and the hazardous materials team.

In May of 2008, Lt. Green joined the Division of Insurance Fraud and has served as a Lead Detective in the Orlando PIP 2 squad since August of 2010.

Lieutenant jOHN SAVINO, Orlando Field Office

Lt. Savino began his law enforcement career in 1982 with the New York City Police Department. He served as a patrol officer, narcotics investigator and was promoted to Detective in 1989. Lt. Savino spent eighteen years investigating reports of sexual assaults and child abuse while assigned to the Manhattan Special Victims Squad, and was promoted to the prestigious rank of 1st Grade Detective.

During Lt. Savino’s time with the Special Victims Squad, he investigated thousands of reports of rape and sexual assaults and have been lead investigator for many successful serial rape and pattern sexual assault investigations. He was tasked with rewriting the policy used by NYPD when investigating sexual assaults and co-authored two text books detailing the best investigative techniques for rape investigations and other serious crimes.

In September of 2001, after the World Trade Center Tragedy, Lt. Savino, along with an elite group of Detectives, were assigned to the New York City Morgue for several months and tasked with attempting to identify the victims of the World Trade Center Disaster.

After twenty-five years with NYPD, Lt. Savino retired and joined the Division of Insurance Fraud in 2008. Since becoming a member of DIF, Lt. Savino has investigated Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud and have made numerous arrests which have resulted in clinics being shut down. He is a member of the ERT team and a DTO since joining the Division. In 2011, Lt. Savino was assigned to a Federal Health Care Task Force for the Middle District of Florida, before becoming a Lead Detective for the newly formed PIP Squad in the Orlando Field Office.

East Central Region Case Highlights

 

Case #1

This investigation was initiated based upon a citizen complaint alleging Nicholas George had falsely reported a 27' Contender fishing boat stolen to collect insurance money. The allegation was that on October 24, 2008, Mr. George fraudulently reported his boat, motors and trailer stolen when he actually cut the boat up and buried it at an unknown location.

The Division of Insurance Fraud investigation began by working closely with Travelers Insurance and the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI). Travelers’ investigators had been pursuing this theory, but had been unable to verify the allegation. The BFAI had previously arrested and charged George under an unrelated investigation. After collaborating and gathering testimony from numerous witnesses, the hull of the boat was ultimately located and unearthed on a vacant parcel located in Bunnell, FL. The BFAI provided the heavy excavation equipment needed to dig up and locate the remnants of the boat. George had used heavy excavation equipment at the lot where the boat was eventually unearthed.

The boat had become a financial hardship for George and he had missed numerous loan payments on the boat prior to its disappearance. After the boat was reported stolen in 2008, Travelers paid $30,389.95 to George and $89,130.05 to the lien holder for a total loss of $119,520.00.

The findings have been presented to the Volusia County State Attorney’s Office and a warrant was issued on November 2, 2011 for one count of insurance fraud and one count of grand theft. On November 3, 2011, George was arrested on the warrant and transported to the Volusia County jail with a $100,000 bond. On December 5, 2013, Nicholas George was convicted of scheme to defraud and grand theft. He was sentenced to 15 months state prison and five years probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $119,520.45.


Case #2

A complaint was filed with the Division of Insurance Fraud against Susan Lewis, a licensed insurance agent under the Department of Financial Services. It was alleged that Lewis improperly was named the Trustee on a Trust, the executor of the Will, as well as securing Power of Attorney on all of the victim’s assets. Before the victim passed away in June 2011, Lewis submitted a request to withdraw $75,000 from an annuity account using a withdrawal form Lewis had kept on file from a previous $15,000 withdrawal by the victim. The form was changed to reflect $75,000 instead of the previous $15,000 and the phone number was changed to reflect Lewis’ phone number. An annuity check was issued payable to the victim and dated three days after the death. The check was received by Lewis, who endorsed the back of the check as power of attorney and deposited into the victim’s bank account. Four days prior to death, Lewis was added as an authorized signer on the account. Under the directives of the Trust in which Lewis accepted responsibility as the Trustee, the funds in the bank account were assets of the estate and should have been disbursed according to the Trust’s directives. On August 18, 2011, Lewis as the Trustee closed the bank account and then transferred $97, 152.28 to her own account.

The case was investigated by the Division of Insurance Fraud and presented to the Lake County State Attorney’s Office. On December 12, 2013, Lewis was convicted of organized scheme to defraud and sentenced to ten years probation. She was ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution.


Case #3

Raymond Ismael Melendez engaged in a systematic ongoing course of conduct that defrauded persons by false and fraudulent pretense. Melendez knowingly obtained the funds from settlement checks of clients with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the benefit from the property to appropriate if for his own use.
A review of the Melendez Law Firm account revealed that Orlando Attorney Raymond Melendez was the sole account holder and he was the only listed person on that Bank of America Account. A further review of the account revealed that Melendez never paid any monies to multiple clients.


Attorney Melendez did not advise his clients that he had received the settlements from the PIP or bodily injury claims. Melendez did not remit to his clients those funds, minus his attorney fees that were due. Attorney Melendez failed to maintain those funds and misappropriated the funds to a use, other than it was intended depriving his clients.

Melendez has been charged with scheme to defraud in the 1st Degree, grand theft 2nd degree and 2 counts of grand theft in the 3rd Degree. Orlando is investigating Additional similar misappropriation/theft charges against Melendez are being investigated.

Case #4

A complaint received from Unum Insurance Company alleged that Dr. Kranz had been receiving full disability payments from four Unum Insurance policies totaling $90,000 a year. Unum Insurance investigative inquiry had revealed that Dr. Kranz had been working full time at a medical facility in Pennsylvania while collecting disability payments from Unum Insurance. Unum Insurance paid full disability to Dr. Kranz whom they thought was living with his mother (Nora Kranz) in Hobe Sound, Florida. Dr. Kranz worked in Pennsylvania while collecting disability payments from Unum Insurance for approx seven years. Dr. Kranz was collecting a salary in Pennsylvania utilizing a social security number of a deceased person.


Investigation has revealed that Dr. Kranz collected approximately $600,000 from Unum Insurance for disability payments while working in Pennsylvania. Additionally investigation has revealed that Dr. Kranz was also collecting disability payments from the federal government, $24,000 per year for him and $60,000 per year for four children (total approximately $600,000, from the Social Security Administration. Dr. Kranz laundered the funds through two shell companies. Dr. Kranz utilized both his mother (Nora Kranz) and his son (Andrew Kranz) to launder funds through the shell companies.


NOTE- Additional charges pending against listed subjects and other family members as bank record examination continues.
This case will be prosecuted through the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fort Pierce.


Case #5

Orlando PIP3 squad investigated allegations that Doctor Richard T. Pfaff was nothing more than a "straw owner" of Health and Wellness Clinic of S. Orlando, Inc. in an effort to avoid the licensing requirements of the Health Care Clinic Act, and in violation of F.S.S. 400.9935 (4), Clinic Responsibilities-Unlicensed.

Ownership of a clinic entails more than an agreement to create corporate papers listing an individual as a share holder and officer. Ownership is determined by examining who has control over the corporation and control over the corporate assets, including bank accounts; use of corporate funds for personal use, who has the responsibility for hiring/firing, payment of employee’s salaries and who is responsible for the daily business related activities.

The investigation established that Doctor Pfaff was not in control over the corporation and clinic operating under the name Health and Wellness Clinic of S. Orlando, Inc., 11364 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837. In fact the clinic was owned and operated by Misleidy Jimenez thus requiring the clinic to be licensed, which it was not. Therefore any and all charges or reimbursement claims made by Richard Pfaff or on behalf of Health and Wellness Clinic of S. Orlando, Inc., which was required to be licensed, was operating in violation of the Florida Statutes rendering the charges unlawful and non-compensable.

Misleidy Jimenez and Dr. Pfaff established and operated a health care clinic required to be licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA”) in violation of the Health Care Clinic Act, Unlicensed Health Care Clinic. Dr. Pfaff purported to be the sole owner of Health and Wellness Clinic of S. Orlando, 11364 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837 which was operating as a Health Care Clinic with an exemption issued by ACHA on July 23, 2010. Health and Wellness Clinic of S. Orlando provided medical treatment and physical therapy to individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents. The treatments were then billed to various insurance companies under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

On March 24, 2014, Misleidy Jimenez was convicted in Orange County of operating a clinic without a license, grand theft 2nd degree and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $101,923.81 and investigative costs in the amount of $6,252.05.