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CFO Sink Suspends Broward Insurance Agent; Requires Restitution of More than $100,000

1/25/2007

CONTACT:  Nina Banister or Jeff Takacs
(850) 413-2842 
 
TALLAHASSEE — Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has suspended the license of a South Florida insurance agent for twisting and misrepresenting the terms and conditions of life insurance and annuity products, scheming customers out of thousands of investment dollars.  He is now required to pay over $100,000 in restitution to those consumers. 
 
"The perpetrators of these crimes defraud Floridians out of millions of dollars," said CFO Sink, who oversees the Florida Department of Financial Services.  "We will not tolerate crimes against our consumers and I want to let these crooks know that we are coming after them."
 
Following an investigation, the Department of Financial Services filed administrative charges against Shawn Roberts, 47, of Plantation, alleging that he placed his clients into life insurance and annuity products that were unsuitable for them, given their risk tolerance and investment objectives. Misrepresentation of insurance and annuity products may include not only misrepresenting the terms and conditions of a product or transaction, but also failing to disclose material information about those products or transactions.
Investigators say that Roberts did both, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to consumers, including surrender charges or other penalties.  Roberts, in turn, generated nearly $73,000 in commissions from the sale of the products.
 
In lieu of an administrative hearing, Roberts agreed to a settlement involving suspension and restitution to consumers. Roberts' insurance license and appointments have been suspended for nine months, and he has agreed to pay eight consumers restitution totaling in excess of $107,000.  Additionally, Roberts must pay an administrative fine in the amount of $2,500 to help defray the department's costs associated with its investigation.
 
The Florida Department of Financial Services' Division of Agent and Agency Services, Bureau of Investigation, investigates various types of insurance violations by agents including health, life, auto, property, workers' compensation, bail bond and title insurance.  To file a complaint against an agent call 1-800-342-2762 or go to www.fldfs.com.
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. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.