Volume 1 Number 45
November 8, 2004










TEXT VERSION


AGENT ARRESTED FOR STEALING INSURANCE PREMIUMS

Some Central Florida customers were left with no coverage for recent hurricanes.

A property insurance agent who served customers in Hardee, Polk and DeSoto counties is facing several felony charges stemming from allegations that he stole insurance premiums from homeowners and never secured property insurance coverage. Victims realized something was wrong when their hurricane claims were denied.

“It is appalling to think about the risk this individual knew his customers were facing, customers who trusted him to take care of them,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “We are doing all we can to secure help for these victims, from urging insurance companies to honor these policies to directing victims to apply for compensation from a state victim assistance fund.”

Investigators with the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud, working with the Polk County State Attorney’s Office, determined that Jason Mathew Ford, 33, of Sebring, misappropriated almost $30,000 in insurance premiums from at least 15 Floridians. Ford is charged with grand theft, scheme to defraud, premium misappropriation and uttering a forged instrument. He was arrested just before midnight Wednesday in Indiana, and is being held on a $500,000 bond while awaiting extradition to Florida.

Ford owned and operated the Wauchula franchise of Great Florida Insurance, located at 110 W. Orange St., in Wauchula. Investigators determined some of the victims were elderly and at least one was disabled.

The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers’ compensation insurance. Anyone with information about this case or another possible fraud scheme should call the department's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to a conviction.
 

The skyline for November is beautiful Lakeland in Polk County.