The South Region is responsible for the enforcement of insurance related crimes committed in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties. The region is divided into two Personal Injury Protection (PIP) squads and two general fraud squad, directed by one captain and four lieutenants.
Captain John Dygon has 36 years of law enforcement experience, beginning as a deputy sheriff in Ohio. John moved to Florida, and joined the Miami Police Department. After several years, he moved to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement attaining the rank of special agent supervisor. Since joining the Division, John was promoted to lieutenant in 2003, and has supervised a general fraud squad, and currently supervises a PIP squad in the Miami Field Office. In September, 2012, John was promoted to Captain over the newly-formed South Central Region. John is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute Command Officers Development Course.
Lt. William Lee began his law enforcement career in Connecticut in 1979. Upon moving to Florida in 1982, Lt. Lee was employed by the Sunrise Police Department. He served there for 18 years, the last 13 as a Sergeant. Lt. Lee started his employment with the Division of Insurance Fraud in 2000. In 2010, he was promoted to lieutenant and now supervises the Plantation PIP squad. Lt. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Haven and a master’s degree from Florida International University. He is also a certified fraud examiner.
Lt. Spirn began her career in law enforcement in 1990 after receiving my Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice from Pepperdine University and Florida Atlantic University (FAU). She was then hired by the Jupiter Police Department and was immediately enrolled in the police academy in Lake Worth, Florida. Lt. Spirn worked as a Road Patrol Officer for the Jupiter Police Department from 1990 until 1993 when she was recruited by the Lake Clarke Shores Police Department. While working for Lake Clarke Shores PD, Lt. Spirn received training and certifications in Crime Prevention and Investigations and was eventually promoted to the position of Investigator, Office of the Chief. As the Investigator, Lt. Spirn was responsible for all criminal and internal investigations. In 2004 Lt. Spirn was hired as a detective by the Department of Financial Services (DIF) and was assigned to General Fraud. Since then she has also been assigned to PIP, Mortgage Fraud and Workers' Compensation Fraud. Lt. Spirn was selected to participate on a DEA Taskforce after attending their training academy. In September 2012, Stacey was promoted to Lieutenant in the Broward Office for the General Fraud Squad and am very excited to begin my career as a supervisor.
Evangelina Brooks began her law enforcement career in 2002 with the Vero Beach Police Department. She joined the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud in May 2006 and was assigned to the Miami Region PIP Squad. In 2007, she transferred as a detective to the West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Squad. In January 2009, she was promoted to Lieutenant of the newly formed West Palm Beach PIP Squad.
Lt. Brooks attained her undergraduate degree from Bethune-Cookman College and her Master’s Degree from The University of Louisville. Lt. Brooks is active member of the DIF training section. She is also a FDLE/CJSTC certified instructor, specializing in the areas of high liability: firearms, defensive tactics, ASP Baton, CPR/ First Aid and vehicle operations. Lt. Brooks is also an adjunct instructor at the Indian River State College.
Bill Santner is a lieutenant with the Division of Insurance Fraud, and had been employed here since 1989. During that time he has worked on most aspects of insurance fraud, and continues to serve in the Miami Field Office. He has 33 years law enforcement experience.
Miami public adjuster Roberto Alvarez, 44, was arrested for submitting more than $270 thousand in fraudulent homeowner’s insurance claims. Also arrested were four homeowners whom Alvarez recruited to participate in the scheme to defraud.
An investigation by DIF revealed that Alvarez instructed several homeowners to inflate losses in burglary claims in order to increase his commissions. Alvarez fraudulently submitted hundreds of the same receipts on behalf of multiple clients including some items purchased by Alvarez himself. Manual Nuez, Marilin Del Rosario, Jaime Sanchez and Silvia Londono also were arrested in conjunction with this fraud scheme and face charges of grand theft and insurance fraud. Alvarez was booked into the Orange County Jail with bond withheld. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and the homeowners, if convicted on the charges, could face up to 10 years each.
Oscar Garcia, a current Miami Springs Police Officer was arrested on May 7th, charged with two counts of application fraud and one count of grand theft totaling approximately $21 thousand.
According to the investigation, Garcia completed enrollment forms indicating his girlfriend was his spouse. He explained the difference in names by writing “wife kept maiden name.” When questioned by city representatives, he acknowledged that he was still married; however, the insurer gave permission to list his girlfriend as a spouse. Statements from Aetna’s representatives, as well as written directives refute the officer’s statements. Approximately four months later his girlfriend gave birth to their son, and as a result of the fraudulent application, Aetna paid in excess of $21 thousand for the related medical bills and prescriptions. The case is currently pending prosecution by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Kristopher Thibault, owner of Thibault Auto Glass was arrested on five separate cases for billing for windshield replacements that were never done. According to the investigation Thibault operated this scheme from two carwashes located in Broward County. Thibault would approach unsuspecting customers and tell them they were entitled to a new windshield, or that Governor Scott signed a bill authorizing windshields to be replaced three times a year. Thibault would obtain the consumer’s insurance information, and schedule an appointment. Thibault would then initiate a claim with the respective insurance carriers; however, the windshields were never replaced. Thibault received payment for the replacements in each case. Thibault was convicted and adjudicated guilty in all five cases and ordered to pay restitution in excess of $4 thousand and investigative costs in excess of $9 thousand. He was sentenced to five years probation.
A spin-off investigation of Operation Sledgehammer focused on an alleged staged auto crash that occurred on August 23, 2010. The investigation found that Amado Rodriguez, Rene Aquino, Juan Soler and Julio Martes were crash participants in the staged accident. Rodriguez, Aquino and Martes all confessed to investigators that the crash was staged and that each were paid $2 thousand for their participation. Furthermore, they acknowledged attending the clinic where they pre-signed treatment forms for treatments never performed.
On April 16, 2013 Rodriguez and Aquino were taken into custody. Soler is currently a fugitive and Martes is currently residing in Pennsylvania. Warrants have been prepared and future arrests are pending. The criminal case involving Rodriguez and Aquino is also pending.
Moses Georges and Mecene Cavanaugh were the owner/operators of Health South Rehab, a clinic located in Pompano Beach, Florida. An investigation of Health South Rehab identified a former employee willing to provide information about patient brokering and insurance fraud. This witness stated Cavanaugh and Georges offered to pay her $1 thousand if she was willing to bring in patients for alleged treatment. Additionally, the owners were offering additional payments after 10 visits. The investigation found the witness fabricated treatment forms for Stacy Nordelus and sister Sharlyne from April 20 through May 7, 2012, when in fact no treatments ever occurred. These fraudulent activities resulted in a theft in excess of $26 thousand. Both the clinic owners and the patients have been charged. Additional charges concerning clinic licensure are pending at this time.