More than a dozen South Florida customers also face charges
A man who sold fake motor vehicle insurance cards to nearly 200 South Florida drivers has been sentenced to three years in prison, and more than a dozen of his customers are now facing charges that they knowingly presented the false insurance cards.
Howard M. McKinon, 58, of 481 W. 30th St., pleaded guilty to nine counts of marketing a false or fraudulent motor vehicle insurance card and one count of organized scheme to defraud. The charges stem from an investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud. The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office prosecuted the charges. The sentence was handed down on Monday.
“This individual put many Floridians at risk beyond those he sold these cards to, and I’m glad that those who knowingly colluded in the scheme are also being held accountable,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the department.
It is a third-degree felony to create, market or present a false or fraudulent motor vehicle insurance card, punishable by up to five years in prison on each count.
State fraud investigators determined that McKinon issued at least 196 cards, most of them to drivers in West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach. Others were traced to Boynton Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Belle Glade, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Wellington, Palm Springs, Lake Park, and Mangonia Park.
The cards appeared to be issued by Progressive Insurance Company and purported to carry the minimum statutory levels of Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage coverage. The cards had the same policy number, with different personal and vehicle information typed on them. The Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s Office, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) Bureau of Financial Responsibility, and Progressive’s Special Investigative Unit all assisted in the investigation.
Consumers should buy coverage from a licensed insurance agent. To check licensure of an insurance agent or company, log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com or call the department’s Consumer Helpline at 1-800-342-2762.
The Old Hernando County Courthouse, surrounded by grand old oak trees, was built in 1912 in the county seat of Brooksville.