The Panhandle Region comprises two field offices and two squads, located in Tallahassee and Pensacola. Both squads investigate a wide variety of crimes involving insurance fraud. The region covers Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington Counties.
Captain David Lindsay has more than thirty two years law enforcement experience serving sixteen years as a supervisor. He started his career with the St. Petersburg Police Department in 1980 where he served in a variety of capacities retiring in 2005. Dave has served as an Adjunct Instructor for the St. Petersburg College’s Multi Jurisdictional Counter Drug Task Force Training Center. He has also served as a Lead Police Trainer/Mentor training and overseeing the reorganization of the Afghanistan National Police Force. Dave earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from St. Leos University. After joined the Division in 2007, Dave has served in the St. Petersburg Field Office before relocating to Pensacola in 2010. Dave was promoted to Captain in November 2012, overseeing the Panhandle Region.
During the last fiscal year, the Panhandle Region received more than 473 referrals resulting in 175 cases opened, 109 presentations to prosecutors and 92 arrests.
DIF, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Health conducted a search warrant at Dominick Chiropractic Clinic in Pensacola. During the search warrant, several patients and employees were interviewed along with the owner, Dr. Russell D. Dominick. The interviews produced pertinent information about illegal activities.
Law enforcement officers were able to obtain the treatment files relevant to the patients which the business was billing for services not rendered. Dr. Dominick was arrested for two counts of insurance fraud, billing for services not rendered and one count of scheme to defraud.
DIF was contacted by a concerned citizen. The citizen had learned that his two parents, ages 81 years and 85 years of age, had been victimized in a driveway painting scheme.
A DIF detective posed as the son of the elderly victims and obtained statements from the suspect. In the course of the investigation, it was determined that Leonard Stokes was operating a driveway repair scheme along the I-10 Corridor from Mobile, Alabama to Jacksonville, Florida targeting the elderly. Stokes painted residential driveways and inflated the repair costs. In this case, he charged the elderly victims over $4 thousand for a painted driveway and used abusive intimidating tactics to force payment for work not performed as described. The elderly victims were intimidated into paying out of fear.
Stokes was located, arrested and charged with workers’ compensation fraud, expoitation of the elderly and grand theft. Stokes admitted to operating the scheme in this state without required workers’ compensation insurance coverage for this business. He admits to paying cash to his workers without any payroll deductions of any kind. Stokes also admitted to targeting only the elderly in his scheme. He also admitted to ripping off seniors for many years in Florida. The suspect admitted to doing as many as five driveway scams per week. By his own calculations this would net approximately $1 million per year. He refused to cooperate by identifying others involved in his scheme or who shared in the illegal proceeds.
DIF arrested three suspects employed by AAA Roofmasters for acting as unlicensed public adjusters and will be seeking arrest warrants on a a fourth suspect. The investigation began with a tip from Southern Fidelity SIU. Based on information received from that tip, the investigation determined that AAA Roofmasters employees were making initial contacts, reporting damage claims on behalf of the insured residents, thereby acting as unlicensed public adjusters.
In post arrest interviews, it was learned that that this was a common practice with two other companies operating locally, Dr. Restoration and DMC Roofing. All three of these companies reportedly move into towns/neighborhoods with concentrated areas of windstorm or hail damage and try to grab as much of the work as they can. Investigations into Dr. Restoration and DMC are ongoing.
DIF partnered with detectives from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Leon County Sheriff’s Office in an arson case that involved the burning of a vehicle for profit. Their investigation revealed that Christopher McGlynn used gasoline to burn a vehicle belonging to Steven Nix, at Nix’ request. The investigation further revealed that Nix wanted to destroy the vehicle to obtain a settlement from his insurance company, so that he could purchase a new truck. The pair developed a scheme in which McGlynn took the vehicle to a remote location and burned it. Shortly thereafter, Nix reported the car stolen. Some very good detective work, cell phone data, tower information and a witness led to McGlynn, who confessed during an interview. This led to warrants being issued for both suspects.
An investigation determined probabl cause to arrest Randall Petersen, a licensed Florida insurance agent possessing license number A205349, violation of Florida State Statutes relating to insurance fraud, grand theft, criminal use of personal identification and aggravated white collar crime.
Mr. Petersen filed insurance documents with the State of Florida listing his insurance business as being Petersen General Agency operating from 8800 University Parkway, Suite B-6, in Pensacola. After conducting interviews and obtaining documents, a court ordered search warrant was executed on Randall Petersen’s place of business obtaining evidence of his crimes.
Mr. Petersen conspired with others in creating a company using the business name of College Consultants of the Gulf Coast , concealing to outsiders and insurance providers his connection. In this scheme to defraud, organized by Mr. Petersen, this company was used to entice victims to attend employment seminars in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Fraudulent online craigslist ads were posted by Amber Smith, an employee of Randall Petersen, who acted as a work from home recruiter.
At these job seminars, employment applications were provided as well as life insurance applications for each subject in attendance. Following each seminar the job applications containing personal identification and life insurance applications were provided to Mr. Petersen. Melloneese Beal conducted job seminars in the Tampa Bay area and believed she was acting on behave of College Consultants of the Gulf Coast and at each seminar she handed out and received completed job applications and life insurance policies back from the attendees and had no idea who was hired or what happened to the paperwork after it was received by Petersen. Beal is a licensed Florida insurance agent.
Petersen was arrested on Escambia County arrest warrants on April 23, 2013, and was charged with 284 counts of insurance fraud and faces inprisonment up to 30 years as well as grand theft criminal use of personal identification information, aggravated white collar crime (285 victims) and scheme to defraud.