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CFO Sink Helps South Florida Senior Recover More than $217,000 from an Inappropriate Annuity Transaction

10/28/2008

CONTACT:   Tara Klimek or Jayme O’Rourke
                   850-413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE— Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink’s investigators recently helped Kikuko West, a Vero Beach senior, recover more than $217,000 in potential losses after she allegedly was tricked into prematurely replacing an existing annuity by an area insurance agent.  Kikuko, 75, contacted the Department of Financial Services (DFS) after hearing about CFO Sink’s newly created “Safeguard our Seniors”(SOS) Task Force, which is examining ways the state can reduce financial fraud against Florida seniors. 
 
CFO Sink’s office has also helped recover more than $300,000 for an 81-year-old woman from New Port Richey as well as nearly $325,000 for an 82-year-old living in Daytona who were both scammed into purchasing inappropriate annuity investments and called the department for help. 
 
“Every year, my department investigates hundreds of bad actors who prey upon Florida seniors, like Kikuko, luring them into inappropriate investments,” said CFO Sink, who oversees DFS.  “We created the ‘Safeguard Our Seniors’ Task Force to identify how our state can better protect seniors from financial threats, starting with annuity fraud.”
 
According to Kikuko, the agent attempted to replace her and her husband’s existing annuity policy with a new one.  The agent had committed in writing not to finalize the transaction or transfer any funds until Kikuko and her husband returned from a trip up north.   Despite the written commitment, the agent proceeded with the transfer of funds. 
 
After reviewing other paperwork left behind by the agent, CFO Sink’s investigators were able to determine that the agent appeared to have violated Florida law, which requires that buyers have a 15-day free look period without penalty once the contract is received.  At the time of the funds transfer, Kikuko had not yet been presented with a contract.  DFS is now investigating the agent’s actions in this case.
 
To learn more about the SOS Task Force or what to consider when purchasing annuities, visit www.FLSeniors.net.  Senior Floridians who believe they may have been the victim of annuity fraud should call 1-877-My-FL-CFO or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com  to file a complaint.