An elderly couple who loses their life savings in an investment scam is tragic financially, mentally and emotionally. Every time a con artist is arrested, we use it as an opportunity to tell Floridians to Verify Before You Buy.
This message was recently underscored with the arrest of Patrick B. Kirkland of Isleworth and Laura Wade of Lady Lake, who targeted Floridians in an estimated $60 million real estate scheme. Thanks to aggressive action, both have been booked on state and federal charges of securities fraud and grand theft.
The investors who were victimized in this case did not realize that Kirkland was not licensed to sell investments in Florida.
To protect those who want to invest their hard-earned money, there are resources available to guard against financial fraud.
You can verify, by phone or online, if an investment or insurance product is registered with our department and if the person selling the product is licensed. You can also find out how many complaints have been lodged against an agent or company you are considering, and the reasons for the complaints.
Verify Before You Buy by calling us at 1-800-342-2762 or visiting us at www.MyFloridaCFO.com. Click on the Verify Before You Buy button in the right column.
We are committed to helping you make safe and informed financial decisions.
|TOM GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES 21 ARRESTS FOLLOWING INVESTIGATION UNCOVERING MORE THAN 60 STAGED CRASHES IN TAMPA AREA|
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, has announced the arrests of 21 individuals for allegedly staging 10 auto crashes stemming from an investigation that uncovered more than 60 staged crashes throughout the Tampa Bay area. The 10 staged crashes that these individuals are being charged for resulted in nearly $1 million in fake claims. The round-up was organized by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“Aggressive investigations and prosecutions coupled with legislation I’m advocating this year will tighten the net around these criminals,” said Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “We must continue the fight to protect Floridians from the danger and cost inflicted by insurance fraud schemes.”
The arrests are the result of federal indictments unsealed in the Middle District of Florida. Among those arrested are medical clinic owners, staged crash organizers and accident participants. Most auto insurance fraud cases involve the organizing of staged auto crashes in order to fraudulently bill for services covered by personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which provides up to $10,000 for medical bills from an auto accident, regardless of who is at fault. Florida law requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage.CONTINUED
GALLAGHER BANS AGENT WHO MISLED SENIORS
|TRG OPERATORS TO PAY $3 MILLION |
Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced that Florida victims of TRG Marketing LLC, the Indiana-based unauthorized insurance entity that left hundreds of Floridians with unpaid medical claims, will get back nearly $3 million in restitution. Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, which conducted the only criminal investigation against the operators. TRG left an estimated 7,300 victims in 43 states.
|FAMILIES CAN NOW ENROLL ONLINE |
State-subsidized insurance program also launches new marketing campaign to reach eligible families and increase enrollment
With the click of a mouse, Florida families with uninsured children can now go online to apply for affordable, quality health insurance through Florida Healthy Kids and KidCare. The re-designed Healthy Kids Web site at www.healthykids.org also allows parents to check the status of their application and make payments once their children are enrolled. Many customer service improvements were made to the program over the past few months. Easy access and online enrollment were the top requests from families who suggested ways to make the program better.
“This is the best time for families to enroll in the program because it’s easier to apply for benefits,” said Healthy Kids executive director Rose Naff. “If a family sends us an application, we’ll get them health insurance.
According to the latest study of the uninsured by the University of Florida, there are 143,000 children that qualify for the program. Using this information, Healthy Kids is launching a grassroots effort, combined with advertising, to reach out to these eligible families. CONTINUED
|STATE GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL REPORT NOW AVAILABLE |
Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher has announced that the Florida Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) has been completed for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2005.