Volume 3 Number 44
October 30, 2006

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BANNED AGENT CHARGED WITH TRANSACTING INSURANCE WITHOUT A LICENSE

Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, announced that a former insurance agent whose license was revoked in March for luring senior citizens into buying inappropriate annuities is now facing felony charges for continuing to transact such deals.

Bijan Razdar, 52, of Port Richey, was arrested on Oct. 18 at his home in Pasco County and is charged with knowingly transacting insurance and/or otherwise engaging in insurance activities without a license, a third-degree felony.  The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, determined Razdar had continued the illegal activity for six months following his license revocation.  Detective Steve Firestone was the case investigator.

“We have zero tolerance for anyone who seeks to cheat our seniors out of their hard-earned retirement funds,” Gallagher said.  “We will continue to bring the full force of the law against scam artists and aggressively educate our seniors against these scams.”

Razdar’s license revocation followed a lengthy investigation by the department’s Division of Agent and Agency Services, Bureau of Investigations.  As Florida’s CFO, Gallagher oversees the department and has taken action against several dozen agents and individuals for theft and fraud involving the elderly.  

An annuity is an insurance contract that offers a guaranteed series of payments over a period of time.  While he was still licensed, Razdar operated American Independent Financial Services located at 10633 U.S. Highway 19 in Port Richey and produced radio advertisements and seminars that sounded like a financial advice show and drew seniors looking for guidance on how to protect their retirement funds. 

An elderly Clearwater woman who explained she needed to maintain access to her assets to meet daily living expenses, invested the bulk of her retirement nest egg, accumulated from 43 years of work at Sears, Roebuck & Co., in a deferred equity indexed annuity.  She later learned she could not collect a monthly income until age 92.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim should call 1-800-342-2762 or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com to file a complaint.