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CFO Sink Announces Arrest in Undercover Operation

8/13/2007

CONTACT:   Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842    
 
WELLINGTON—A former insurance agent who had his license revoked last year by the Department of Financial Services is now facing criminal charges after he allegedly offered to sell insurance to an undercover insurance fraud detective.
 
Mark Dwain Hannifin, 45, owner and operator of Hannifin & Associates in Wellington, was arrested earlier this month on charges of soliciting insurance without a license and transacting insurance without a license.  If convicted he faces up to five years in prison on each count in addition to fines and restitution.  Detective Stacey Spirn with the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) was lead investigator, and was assisted by DIF Captain Simon Blank.
 
“We urge Floridians to check our Web site or call the department’s Consumer Helpline to ensure an agent is licensed,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who oversees the department.  “No one should transact business with an unlicensed agent, much less one whose license was revoked for prior bad conduct.”
 
On August 1, 2007, an undercover DIF detective posing as a customer met with Hannifin at Hannifin’s office.  The meeting was captured on both audio and video recordings.  Hannifin allegedly asked the detective for information necessary to complete an application for general liability insurance, and then advised the detective that he would contact him regarding when he could pick up the certificate.
 
The next day, someone from Hannifin’s office called the detective and requested a facsimile number where he could send the application.   The documents sent consisted of a letter from Hannifin with a general liability insurance quote from Western World Insurance Company and instructed the detective to sign the application and provide a check for the premium down payment to Hannifin & Associates.  The detective arranged to drop off the application and payment in person, but instead delivered handcuffs.
 
Hannifan’s agent license was revoked in 2006 after he collected premiums but failed to place coverage and sold unauthorized insurance products.  To check an agent’s license status, go to www.myfloridacfo.com.
 
The Division of Insurance Fraud is a statewide law enforcement agency that investigates fraud in all lines of insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance.  Anyone with information about this case or any other suspected fraud case is asked to 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 an arrest and conviction.                                                                  
 
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.