GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES ARRESTS OF TWO PUBLIC ADJUSTERS IN
$400,000 HURRICANE INSURANCE FRAUD CASE
MIAMI—Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced the
arrests of two licensed public adjusters who fraudulently collected more
than $400,000 from two insurance companies by submitting bogus contractor
agreements. The arrests were made by detectives in the Department of
Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud.
“Insurance fraud leads to higher insurance premiums which hit every
Floridian in the pocketbook,” said Gallagher, who oversees the department.
“We will continue to follow every lead regarding possible fraudulent
activity and send a strong message that such abuse of our citizens will not
Jose Manuel Soler and Ariel L. Fernandez, of Coast to Coast Public
Adjusters, allegedly submitted approximately 75 forged contractor
agreements, resulting in an overpayment by Citizens Insurance of
$314,596.54. Detectives said an additional 29 such documents
were submitted to the Tower Hill Group resulting in a loss of $125,281.81.
Detectives said the forged contractor agreements were submitted in order to
obtain an additional 20 percent of the estimated claim for overhead and
profit. The fraudulent contractor agreements stemmed from real claims for
water pipe damage. Following each storm in 2004 and 2005, Gallagher capped
public adjusters fees that could be charged to storm victims and implemented
a 14-day day period for victims to rescind public adjuster contracts without
Both Soler and Fernandez surrendered on the charges Thursday and were
incarcerated in the Miami-Dade County Jail. Each was charged with 104 counts
of insurance fraud (third degree), 104 counts of grand theft (third degree)
and one count of organized scheme to defraud (first degree) each. Bail was
expected to be set at $1,050,000. Additional arrests are anticipated.
TThe Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud,
investigates fraud in all types of insurance, including health, life, auto,
property and workers’ compensation. To report information about this case or
any other possible insurance fraud case, call the department’s Fraud
Fighters hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered
for information leading to a conviction.