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CFO Sink Announces 47 Suspects Arrested So Far in Statewide Three-Day Operation

1/24/2008

CONTACT:  Nina Banister or Brannon Jordan
                 (850) 413-2842
 

Anti-fraud operation targets 84 from Pensacola to Miami
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced 47 Floridians have been arrested so far in a statewide, three-day operation that began Tuesday and will continue through today, targeting 84 individuals for various insurance fraud charges.  The arrests, which range from Pensacola to Miami, involve alleged fraud schemes uncovered during months-long investigations with millions of dollars in potential losses.
 
Arrests on Tuesday included a Clearwater couple accused of title insurance fraud estimated at more than $7 million.
 
“Insurance fraud causes real financial pain and hurts Florida’s families, businesses and communities,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  “Criminals need to know that we will not tolerate insurance fraud of any kind and we will aggressively pursue those who commit fraud on innocent Floridians.”
 
The charges stem from investigations by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), a sworn statewide law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of insurance fraud.  The DIF made more than 800 insurance fraud-related arrests in the last fiscal year.
 
Arrests are taking place in numerous cities including Tallahassee, Pensacola, Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Plantation and Miami.  Charges are varied and include workers’ compensation fraud, title fraud, staging automobile accidents and grand theft.  The operation is being organized through DIF’s regional offices, with charges being prosecuted by state attorney offices in the various jurisdictions.  Potential sentences could range from five years to 30 years in prison per count.
 
Insurance fraud in Florida has been estimated to cost Floridians as much as $1,400 a year.  The DIF investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance.  Depending on the estimated loss amount, the department will pay up to $25,000 for information directly leading to an arrest and conviction.  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 or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com/fraud. Complaints can be tracked online.

Arrest Sweep Arrest List 1-22-08

Larry Zeigler,  DOB 01/23/1953,  Quincy, FL
Charges:   Workers’ Compensation Fraud and Perjury
Synopsis:  In a deposition Zeigler allegedly failed to disclose his complete medical history regarding his knee injuries.  Zeigler is now claiming a knee injury as a result of injuries occurring at current employer.
 
Bettye Bradwell, DOB 05/28/1966, Tallahassee, FL
Charges:   Workers’ Compensation Fraud, Perjury and Grand Theft
Synopsis:  In deposition, Bradwell allegedly failed to disclose her complete medical history regarding her neck and back problems.  Bradwell is now claiming a back injury.
 
Sharmey Leo Burney, DOB 8-31-74, Tallahassee, FL
Charges:  False or fraudulent proof of motor vehicle insurance,
 
James Francis McClure, DOB 07/07/1946, Tallahassee, FL
Charges:  Insurance Fraud
Synopsis: The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) received a referral from Fidelity Title Group, Inc./ Chicago Title Company alleging that Accurate Land Title, LLC/James “Jim” Francis McClure collected $22,950.58 to pay for flood/hazard insurance for a property in Cape San Blas, Port. St. Joe. FL. Accurate Land Title, LLC then sent the checks to Arrigoni Insurance Agency, Inc., and the checks were returned for insufficient funds.

Charlotte M. Cromartie, DOB 2/23/1958, Tallahassee, FL.
Charges:   Insurance Fraud
Synopsis: Investigation conducted by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida/ Capital Health Plan indicated that on October 29, 1998, while employed by Capital Health Plan, Cromartie completed a CHP Enrollment Application and allegedly listed “Eubanks, Andre M” as a son and made a handwritten note listing “Williams, Kadyja” as a daughter. Information received by CHP indicated that Andre Eubanks and Kadyja Williams were Cromartie’s grandchildren and not her children as listed on the enrollment application. From January 1, 2003, through July 31, 2007, Capital Health Plan paid $ 2,127.12 for Eubanks, Andre M, medical expenses and $ 1,142.12 for Williams, Kadyja medical expenses, in which they were not entitled to.
Luciano Mendoza, DOB 6/30/1980, Havana FL
Charges:  Workers’ Compensation Fraud
 
Jeffery Duane Harvell, DOB 10/07/1965, Pensacola, FL 
Charges:   Insurance Fraud, Uttering a Forged Instrument, Forgery, Obtaining Control Substance by Fraud
Synopsis:  Harvell allegedly used another person’s insurance information to receive scheduled II prescriptions (Oxycontin). 
Deborah Stefan, DOB 11/01/1954, Summerfield, FL
Charges:    Insurance Fraud
Synopsis:  Stefan allegedly submitted a disability claim form to the carrier that had altered disability dates.  The doctor verified that his office did not complete, sign or alter the disability form. 
 
Randall Lane,  DOB 01/03/1969, Jacksonville, FL
Charges:    Workers’ Compensation Fraud and Perjury
Synopsis:  Lane reported a work-related injury to his employer on May 11, 2006, and during his deposition on February 27, 2007. At that time, Lane reported he injured his left leg, groin and lower extremities when he was struck on the left leg by a wrench thrown at him by another employee. Claim file material and medical reports for the claim revealed a similar accident with prior injuries (pre-existing condition left leg) reported on 01/16/1997 by Trauma Flight Services, University Medical Center, Jacksonville, Florida.  On February 27, 2007, Lane was deposed in this matter and he allegedly denied prior injury to his left leg.   Surveillance of the claimant was conducted and the claimant was observed conducting activities in conflict of his stated medical condition.
 

John Ghademi,  DOB 05/05/1962, Jacksonville, FL
Charges:   Workers’ Compensation Fraud, Grand Theft and Perjury
Synopsis:  Ghademi pursued a workers’ compensation claim against his employer, The Haskell Company, that allegedly occurred on August 6, 2004.  He claimed severe injuries and disabilities to his doctors and in his deposition.  Surveillance starkly revealed no disability. Ghademi’s treating doctor signed a statement that the presentation on film of Ghademi versus in his office was grossly different.
 
Delphine Blue, DOB 07/27/1953, Jacksonville, FL
Charges:   Workers’ Compensation Fraud and Perjury
Synopsis:  On December 4, 2004, Delphine Blue, store manager of the McDonalds in Jacksonville, alleged that she struck her foot on the cap to a drain, which was in the middle of the floor while she worked.  Ms. Blue received long term disability, which was terminated in late 2006. On October 20, 2006, Ms. Blue contacted her employer and filed a workers’ compensation claim with Florida Hospitality Mutual Insurance Company.  On February 26, 2007, Ms. Blue's deposition was taken and she denied any prior problems with her feet. Medical records were obtained from the Podiatry Associates of Northeast Florida Inc, which revealed that Ms. Blue was treated at various times between March 17, 1998, and December 20, 2004, for calluses and bunions on both her feet.
 
Yacop Mnierji, DOB 07/07/1965, Orlando, FL
Charges:    1 count Insurance Fraud and 1 count Grand Theft
Synopsis:  Subject owns a body shop and allegedly put more damage on vehicles for larger claim.
 
Stephen Watts, DOB 09/05/1956, Orlando, FL
Charges:    1 Count Scheme to Defraud 
Synopsis:   Allegedly misrepresented sale of insurance policies and annuities 
 
Antonio Streeter, DOB 12-3-73, Orlando, FL
Charges:      2 Counts Grand Theft 
Synopsis:   Allegedly collected twice from insurance company for same vehicle damage.
 
Christopher Millsap, DOB 6-15-61, Orlando, FL
Charges:   4 Counts Grand Theft
Synopsis: Subject is an insurance agent. He allegedly collected premiums from victims and then pocketed the money; no coverage ever issued for victims.
 
Jarrell L. Britts, DOB  8-18-1952, Clearwater Beach, FL
Katherine J Britts, DOB 9-2-1960, Clearwater Beach, FL
Charges:   Defalcation of Escrow Funds over $100,000, Conspiracy, Money Laundering
Synopsis:  Title Fraud - theft of Escrow Funds.  The Britts allegedly stole $2,553,302.65 from their company's escrow funds and then made false entries to mask these thefts. They allegedly then stole $3,177,030.92, via fraudulent representation of their manipulated books, to buyers of his business. Following the sale of their business, Jarrell Britts continued to act as general manager for the purchasers of this new entity. While in this capacity, Britts allegedly stole another $2,087,086.38 from the purchasers of this business.
 
Earl Craig Mintzer, DOB 11/21/55, Lutz, FL
Charges:  Insurance fraud, grand theft.
Synopsis:  Mintzer failed to remove his ex-wife as an eligible dependant from his Blue Cross Blue Shield medical policy and allegedly provided false information concerning his ex-wife’s status resulting in more than $1,900 in claims payments during the period of 5/22/03 and 6/24/05. 
 
Essie Malone Fields, DOB  07-17-47, Delray Beach, FL
Charges:   Insurance Fraud
Synopsis: On August 2, 2007, at the Palm Beach South County Tax Collector’s Office located in Delray Beach, , Fields allegedly presented a false or fraudulent insurance card as proof of insurance required to register or renew the registration of a motor vehicle.  Fields was denied registration based on the fraudulent insurance card. 
Subsequently, on August 17, 2007, Fields appeared at the Palm Beach South County Tax Collector’s Office and allegedly presented a false or fraudulent insurance verification letter.
 
Marc Rene, DOB 1/12/1979, Boynton Beach, FL
Charges:  Insurance Fraud (Staged Accident)
Synopsis:  Rene allegedly was involved in a staged traffic to help another friend (driver of V-2) who was having vehicle problems and wanted to dispose of his Lexus.

Jean Berrette, DOB 10/31/1979, Boynton Beach, FL
Charges:   Insurance Fraud (Staged Accident)
Synopsis:  Berrette allegedly was involved in a staged traffic crash along with his friend Marc Rene.  Berette allegedly was the driver of a U-Haul vehicle and set up the crash to help another friend (driver of V-2) who was having vehicle problems and wanted to dispose of his Lexus.
 
John Picano, DOB 04/17/1948, Port St. Lucie, FL
Charges:    Fraudulent Proof of Vehicle Insurance, Application Fraud
Synopsis:  Allegedly presented false certificate of commercial vehicle liability coverage to St. Lucie County Tax Collector and made material misrepresentations concerning for-hire use on vehicle insurance application.
 
Juan Reyes, DOB 09/29/1961, Okeechobee, FL
Charges:   Fraudulent Insurance Claim
Synopsis:  Allegedly submitted fraudulent written and oral statements in support of a homeowners’ claim on behalf of Ligia Hunt for additional living expenses, stating she was renting from him when such was not the case.
 
Ligia Hunt, DOB 12/25/1975, Okeechobee, FL
Charges:  Fraudulent Insurance Claim, Grand Theft over $100,000
Synopsis:  Allegedly submitted fraudulent written and oral statements in support of a homeowners’ claim for damaged personal property and additional living expenses, resulting from a fire at the property she was renting to tenants.
 
Albert Zamek, DOB 08/29/1961, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Charges:   Insurance Fraud
Synopsis:  Zamek allegedly billed for medical services not rendered in St Lucie County.  Zamek treated a patient on April 26, 2005, and continued to bill her insurance company for an additional four (4) visits over a six (6) month period for services and visits that never happened. 
 
Lorna Cummings, DOB  07/29/1952, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Charges:   Organized scheme to defraud, Solicitation
Synopsis:  Cummings, a former nurse at Broward General and Plantation General hospitals, allegedly obtained and sold auto vehicle accident patient information.
 
Mariela Valdez Lopez, DOB 10/20/84, Cape Coral, FL
Charge:  Passenger in a staged accident.
Roger Garcia, DOB 1/15/77, Lehigh Acres, FL
Charges:   Working without workers’ compensation coverage
 
William Wheeler, DOB 1/18/60, Pompano, FL
Charge:  Presenting a fraudulent certificate of commercial liability insurance. 
 
Johnny Rodriguez, DOB 1/23/90, Miami, FL
Charges:  Racketeering, Insurance Fraud, Grand Theft
Synopsis: Auto accident on March 22, 2007, in which defendant Rodriguez was a passenger, was allegedly staged.  As a result of this staged accident and the defendant’s actions, personal injury claims were filed by MTG diagnostics and T&A diagnostics, both located in Dade County, for alleged medical treatment.
 
Latronida Alford, DOB 4/22/78, Ft. Pierce, FL
Charges:   3 counts of workers’ compensation fraud F.S.S. 440.105 (4)(b) 1,2,3. 1 count grand theft F.S.S. 812.014
Synopsis: Alford was allegedly working while collecting indemnity benefits from First Commercial Insurance Corp.
 
Santiago Andrade, DOB 11/22/1979, Ft. Pierce, FL
Charges:   Scheme to defraud
Synopsis:  Andrade was working at R & F Roofing in Vero Beach and suffered a work-related injury.  Andrade allegedly used a false social security number to gain employment and medical benefits.  
 
Franklin Lainez, DOB  06/17/1975, Miami, FL
Charges:   Working without workers’ compensation coverage.
 
Albert Lee Perry, DOB  11/30/1946, Miami, FL
Charges:  Working without workers’ compensation coverage.
 
Luis Carlos Diaz, DOB April 25, 1964, Miami, FL
Charges:  Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud
Synopsis:  Diaz was injured in a work-related accident.  Diaz allegedly denied prior accident and injuries in IME.
 
Elpidio Matos, DOB  02/28/1957, Miami, FL
Charges:  Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud
Synopsis:  Matos was injured in a work-related accident.  Matos allegedly denied prior accident and injuries.
 
Lisa Lentz, DOB 4/7/1959, Coconut Creek, FL
Charges:  Grand Theft, Criminal Enforcement
Synopsis:  Revoked agent allegedly still operating and stealing premium.
 
Vinson Duca, DOB 6/27/1946, Oakland Park, FL
Charges:    Application Fraud
Synopsis:  Subject allegedly falsified application, habitual insurance claimant.
 
Robert Siravo, Jr.,  DOB 4-13-60, Deerfield Beach, FL
Charges:   Grand Theft  
Synopsis:  Siravo, of Land & Sea Brokers Inc., 835 NE 42nd St, Deerfield Beach, allegedly submitted altered receipts to an insurance company for repairs on a vehicle. Investigation determined receipts had been inflated.
 
Michael Arzillo, DOB 02/27/1947, Cooper City, FL
Charges:   Insurance Fraud
Synopsis: Arzillo indicated that he was the driver of a vehicle that was rear ended in an accident.  The vehicle was really driven by his son, Michael Arzillo Jr., who called his father to the scene after the accident.  Arzillo Sr. then allegedly exchanged insurance information with the other driver and then allegedly treated for injuries he claimed he suffered as a result of being involved in the accident.
 
Emma Yasset Milian, DOB 4/7/1977, Miami, FL
Charges:   Application Fraud
Synopsis:  Milian allegedly forged signature on an application for health insurance.
 
Allen Muñiz, DOB 5/14/1958, address unknown
Charges:    Organized Fraud, Uttering Forged Instruments
Synopsis:  Muniz, a managing agent, received commission checks for his agents and failed to forward to them.  Instead, he allegedly signed another name and endorsed checks as if they signed it over to him.  He allegedly deposited checks into his account.
 
Guy Weston, DOB 10/14/78, Belle Glade, FL
Charges:  Insurance Fraud
Synopsis: Weston had no auto insurance, got into accident and allegedly obtained an auto policy after the fact, then claimed accident after policy in place.
 
 
Jose Santoyo, DOB 5/21/1984, Belle Glade, FL
Charges:  Insurance Fraud
Synopsis: Agent who insured Guy Weston's vehicle without inspecting it and allegedly falsified document to indicate he did see it.
 
Brian Lowe, DOB 05/27/1970, Orange Park, FL
Charges:   Workers’ Compensation Fraud
Synopsis:  On July 11, 2006, Brian Lowe filed a workers’ compensation claim with FCCI for a lower back injury. Investigation revealed that Lowe allegedly lied about having a prior workers’ compensation back injury.
 
David J. Long, DOB 12/13/1961, Niceville, FL
Charges:   Working in Violation of Stop-Work Order
Synopsis:  On January 26, 2006, Long was issued a Stop-Work Order for failure to have workers’ compensation coverage for employees. On February 01, 2006, long was served an Amended Order of Penalty Assessment in the amount of $26,402.57.   On March 01, 2006, Long entered into a Payment Agreement Schedule for Periodic Payment of Penalty.  On May 18, 2006, Long formed another corporation then received workers’ compensation exemptions under this corporation. On May 24, 2007, an Order Reinstating Stop-Work Order was provided via certified mail to Long for non-compliance with the March 01, 2006, agreement.  On June 15, 2007, the Stop-Work Order was reinstated.  On October 08, 2007, David J. Long and another subject were observed working on a new home that was under construction. Long was issued an Order Assessing Penalty for working in violation of the Stop-Work Order in the amount of $115,000.