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CFO Sink Announces Palm Beach County PIP Fraud Arrest

3/14/2008

CONTACT: 
Brannon Jordan or Kevin Cate
(850) 413-2842
 
LAKE WORTH —Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced the arrest of a Palm Beach County man on Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud charges.  This week’s arrest concludes the arrest of four South Florida residents on charges they perpetrated a PIP fraud scheme.
 
Werbs Prevot, 25, of Lake Worth, is accused of participating in a staged traffic accident. After the accident, bodily injury claims were submitted to Republic Western Insurance (REPWEST) Company.  To date, REPWEST has paid $32,511.33 in expenses related to this staged accident claim.  Prevot, arrested Monday, is charged with one count of insurance fraud, a third degree felony, and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
 
“Auto insurance helps protect and safeguard Florida drivers, and when criminals commit insurance fraud, it costs us all,” CFO Sink said.  “My department’s insurance fraud investigators are dedicated to holding anyone who seeks to abuse this system accountable.”
 
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.
 
Insurance fraud in Florida has been estimated to cost Floridians as much as $1,400 a year per family.  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.
 
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.