Volume 1 Number 7
February 16, 2004









 

Veteran Kelly Hagenbeck of the Division of Risk Management presents a plaque of appreciation to CFO Gallagher.

RETURNING SOLDIERS GET OUR SUPPORT

It is with gratitude and support that we welcome our troops back after many months of active duty in service to our country. Over the last week, friends and relatives eagerly greeted returning members of the military with waving flags, yellow ribbons, new babies and open arms. We also send our thoughts, appreciation and prayers of safety to those still in service and those recently deployed.

More than 700 troops came home last week, part of the largest rotation of troops since the start of the war. Meritorious service awards were presented to many of our returning heroes.

The service, dedication, courage and patriotism displayed by these men and women are a living testament for all of us. Their sacrifice of leaving loved ones and giving physically and emotionally to keep this nation safe will never be forgotten.

Let us not forget that love of country and devotion to duty accompany soldiers serving in 120 countries across the globe who are doing their part to protect our freedoms.

In fact, many of these dedicated men and women are employed in the Department of Financial Services, and I would like to give my thanks to each for a job well done. People like Kelly Hagenbeck of Risk Management; Ronald Andersson and Michael Perkins of Insurance Fraud; Kenneth Carroll of the Office of Insurance Regulation; Maraea Corona, Gerard Gilroy, Leon Hill, Kathi Kennedy and Robert Lassiter of the Office of Financial Regulation, Jerome Dilworth of Workers’ Compensation; Bernard Kleinschmidt and Adam Rivero of the State Fire Marshal; Bernadette Pettis and Juan Rodriguez of Agent and Agency Services and Johnny Young of Information Systems deserve our applause.

The liberties we enjoy are not free. Our dedicated military are working to tell others that this country – with its tolerance for ideas and beliefs that may be different from our own – is worth protecting.  I hope the love for our nation inspires us all.

  

                                      

                                        


Report Insurance Fraud
1-800-378-0445
Outside of Florida
850-413-3261
 

THIRD AGENT PLEADS GUILTY IN INSURANCE ‘SLIDING’ SCHEME

A third agent has pleaded guilty to racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering for his role in a scheme to slide undisclosed coverages and hidden costs to hundreds of auto insurance customers. 

Aquileo Hernandez, 42, entered the plea in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.  Judge Dennis Murphy adjudicated Hernandez guilty, banned him from Florida’s insurance industry and ordered him to surrender his insurance license.   Hernandez also was ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to the Miami-Dade Crime Victims Compensation Fund, serve 15 years of probation and 500 hours of community service, and pay $4,000 for investigative costs to the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud.

 “This underhanded scheme hurt people who were already struggling to pay for insurance,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  “This sentence sends a strong message that we will not tolerate anyone taking advantage of our citizens.”   CONTINUED


Federal Trade Commission

IDENTITY THEFT: PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE NATION’S FASTEST GROWING CRIME

Identity Theft is the nation’s fastest growing economic crime.  It can strike over the phone and on the Internet.  Identity thieves troll mailboxes and trashcans for credit card offers, which they use to create phony accounts.  Crooks are now even rigging gas pumps to collect personal and financial information from credit cards as consumers fill up.  However, there are steps Floridians can take to protect their identities and prevent their financial information from being exploited.  Consumers must be more than cautious – they must be downright aggressive. 

“Be vigilant when giving out personal and financial information,” Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher said.  “Don’t let greedy scam artists steal your good name.  The results can be disastrous.” CONTINUED


 

 

FLORIDA CHOSEN TO PARTICIPATE IN FIRESETTER PREVENTION PROJECT

Florida is one of seven states chosen to participate in a new Juvenile Firesetting Intervention and Prevention Project.   The project is funded through a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and is being coordinated in Florida by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Children, some as young as 2 years old, are responsible for than 85,000 fires nationwide every year.

“These programs will help fire services and other community services work together to prevent and reduce juvenile firesetting,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who also serves as State Fire Marshal. 

Representatives from eight Florida counties participated in a preliminary workshop held Feb. 6 at the State Fire College in Ocala.  Bay, Brevard, Columbia, Lake, Leon, Marion, St. Johns and Walton counties are now in the process of organizing local teams of representatives from fire investigation, law enforcement, mental health, education and social services.  A two-day workshop for those county teams will be held in May.

The local teams must commit to implementing juvenile firesetter prevention and intervention programs that coordinate existing community resources.

More workshops will be held for other interested counties.  For more information, contact Detective Jennifer M. Langston of the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation at (850) 413-3616  or langstonj@dfs.state.fl.us.