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CFO Sink Announces Three-day Operation to Arrest Dozens of Individuals on Insurance Fraud Charges

1/23/2007

CONTACT:  Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
 
PLANTATION—Culminating several months-long investigations, dozens of individuals from Pensacola to Miami will be arrested this week for insurance fraud schemes that totaled at least $1 million.  Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the three-day operation as it kicked off today, stating she wants to send a strong message that Florida will not tolerate this costly crime.
 
The charges stem from investigations by the Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud, a sworn law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of insurance fraud.  The division made nearly 800 insurance fraud-related arrests in the last fiscal year.
 
"Those who commit insurance fraud may think they are only hurting insurance companies, but insurance fraud causes real financial pain and hurts families, businesses and communities," said Sink, who as CFO oversees the department (DFS).  "Anyone found guilty of insurance fraud in Florida will pay for their crime."
 
The operation is targeting nearly 80 individuals wanted on criminal charges ranging from staging automobile accidents to grand theft, and the arrests will continue through Thursday.  The division's operation is being organized through the division's regional offices.   The charges are being prosecuted by state attorney offices in the various jurisdictions.  Potential sentences could range from five years to 30 years in prison per count.
 
The majority of the charges fall largely under workers' compensation fraud, including both claim fraud and employer fraud.  The second-largest category of charges involves auto insurance fraud, from staged accidents to fraudulent Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance claims.  Some of the cases involve insurance agents accused of defrauding customers and several homeowner claim fraud cases.
 
Insurance fraud in Florida has been estimated to cost Floridians as much as $1,400 a year.  Depending on the estimated loss amount, the department will pay up to $25,000 for information directly leading to an arrest and conviction.  To report insurance fraud, call the department's Fraud Fighters hotline at 1-800-378-0445 or log on to www.fldfs.com/fraud. Complaints can be tracked online.

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 or any other suspected insurance fraud is asked to call the department's Fraud Fighters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.

As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.

ARRESTS BY BROWARD COUNTY FIELD OFFICE
1. Roselyln Clerisier, D.O.B. 09/10/1985
Charged with one count of insurance fraud in the 2nd degree.
 
ARRESTS BY JACKSONVILLE FIELD OFFICE
2. Latrina Shepard, D.O.B. 07/16/1972
Charged with workers' compensation fraud, grand theft, and perjury. 

ARRESTS BY MIAMI-DADE FIELD OFFICE
3. Heike Blake, D.O.B., 03/09/1961
Charged with insurance fraud.
4. Augustin Exposito, D.O.B. 03/16/1961
Charged with one count of operating without workers' compensation coverage. 
5. Victor Carrera, D.O.B. 08/15/1969
Charged with operating without workers' compensation coverage.
6. Jorge Rigaud, D.O.B. 12/06/65
Charged with working without workers' compensation coverage.
7. Yoni Rivera, D.O.B. 12/14/1970
Charged with working without workers' compensation coverage.
8. Koran Fernandez, D.O.B. 06/14/1977
Charged with working without workers' compensation coverage. 
9. Edgar Salguero, D.O.B. 12/02/1966
Charged with working without workers' compensation coverage.
10. Marlene Calvo, D.O.B. 01/16/1958
Charged with one count of staging and accident.
11. Maria Caraballoso, D.O.B. 06/25/1954
Charged with one count of staging an accident. 
12. Nadine Frederic, D.O.B. 10/11/1979
Charged with one count of staging an accident. 
13. Antonio Dumay, D.O.B. 09/28/1980
Charged with one count of staging an accident. 
14. Carlos Montoya, D.O.B. 07/18/1960
Charged with one count  worker's compensation claims fraud. 
15. Ana Dominguez, D.O.B. 03/30/1964
Charged with one count of staging and accident. 
16. Marie A. Morales, D.O.B. 10/30/1954
Charged with one count of PIP fraud.
17. Mario Horta-Vento, D.O.B. 08/09/1963
Charged with one count of PIP fraud.
18. Rudolfo Valle-Cepedes, D.O.B. 10/22/1965
Charged with PIP Fraud.

ARRESTS BY OCALA FIELD OFFICE
19. Wayne Kearns, D.O.B. 05/11/1955
Charged with one count of workers' compensation claims fraud. 
20. Daniel Matthews, D.O.B. 07/06/1964
Charged with one count of workers' compensation claims fraud.

ARRESTS BY ORLANDO FIELD OFFICE
21. Gregory Bell, D.O.B. 05/10/1952
Charged with one count of fraud for submitting a workers' compensation certificate
22. Carl Nicks, D.O.B., 06/17/1962
Charged with one count of fraud for allegedly submitting a fraudulent certificate of insurance to the Brevard Building Department. 
23. Edwin Chapman, D.O.B. 01/06/1957
Charged with one count of fraud for allegedly submitting fraudulent certificate of insurance to the Brevard Building Department. 

PENSACOLA ARRESTS
24. Scott Price, D.O.B. 11/18/1958
Charged with one count of Uttering a Forged workers' compensation certificate.  
25. Daniel Pigg, D.O.B. 09/03/1979
Charged on one count each of violation of a stop work order, presenting misleading statements as evidence of coverage and working without W/C coverage.
26. Pamela Tate, D.O.B. 12/01/1966
Charged with Insurance Fraud and  PIP fraud.

TALLAHASSEE ARRESTS
27. Hong Thi Nguyen, D.O.B. (N/A)
Charged with perjury.
28. Dewayne Jacob Thele, D.O.B. 05/27/1958
Charged with workers' compensation fraud. 
 
PALM BEACH COUNTY ARRESTS
29. Sybil Niedbalski, D.O.B. 02/21/1968
Charged with Insurance Fraud and Grand Theft.
30. Paul Pocol, D.O.B. 07/08/1978, charged with Workers' Compensation Fraud.
31. Jeffrey M. Buster d/b/a Jeffrey Morton Buster's Specialties, D.O.B. 10/06/1962
Charged with workers' compensation fraud.