Volume 1 Number 39
September 27, 2004










TEXT VERSION

 


CFO GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES TWO MORE ARRESTS OF UNLICENSED ADJUSTERS IN FT. MYERS AREA

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced that two more unlicensed adjusters are off the streets in the Ft. Myers area.

James John Tomlinson, 42, and James Stephen Hudgens, 55, both working for Ft. Lauderdale-based Seabreeze Public Adjusters Inc., were arrested today on one charge each of working as a public adjuster without a license. If convicted on the third-degree felony, they each could face statutory sentences of up to five years in prison in addition to fines of up to $5,000. They have been booked into the Lee County Jail.

“Storm victims must be sure that they are dealing with a legitimate adjuster and verify by calling the department’s storm helpline,” Gallagher said. “It is unfortunate, but disasters bring out the best and the worst in people.”

As CFO, Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, which includes the Division of Insurance Fraud and the Division of Agent and Agency Services, Bureau of Investigation, which made today’s arrest. Gallagher also served as Florida’s Insurance Commissioner when Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992. He said he hopes that the quick and visible mobilization of department fraud investigators to storm-damaged communities will work as a deterrent to unlicensed activity.

Investigators tracked Tomlinson and Hudgens by their advertising signs located around neighborhoods in Charlotte County. The signs read: “Seabreeze Public Adjusters Inc. Charley got you down? Let us handle your claim.” Corporation records show that Seabreeze was established Aug. 19, six days after Hurricane Charley slammed into Florida’s southwest coast.

Both Tomlinson and Hudgens had their Florida public adjuster licenses cancelled in December 2002 after their required bonds lapsed.

Gallagher urges storm victims to verify the licensure of any adjuster before signing any agreement or contract by calling the department’s toll-free storm hotline at 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) or by logging on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com.

 

Our September skyline, above, is Charlotte Harbor looking toward Punta Gorda before Hurricane Charley.