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Ft. Myers Bail Bond Agency Owner Arrested for Hiring Convicted Felon

12/23/2009

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Jennifer Hirst, (850) 413-2842

Bail Bond Agency Employee with Felony Record Also Charged
 
TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO Alex Sink today announced the arrests of Melody Celec, owner of A Way Out Bail Bonds, and Jamie Ramirez, her employee, after it was discovered that Ramirez had a previous felony conviction, yet was working at the Ft. Myers bail bond agency.  CFO Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud arrested Ramirez on Monday for working in a bail bond agency with a felony conviction and arrested Celec last week for knowingly employing a convicted felon.
 
Ramirez, 35, worked for the bail bond agency after her February 2008 felony plea, conducting administrative work in the office, which did not require a license.  The Division of Insurance Fraud received a tip that Celec had an employee with a criminal record.
 
Celec was arrested for knowingly violating Florida law, which states that a convicted felon may not act in any capacity for a bail bond agency.  She turned herself in to the Lee County Jail on December 16, 2009, and has since bonded out.  If convicted, Celec will be barred for life to hold a bail bond agent license, or have any involvement at any bail bond agency in Florida.
 
Ramirez was arrested on two charges of unlawful employment at a bail bond agency and providing false information to Insurance Fraud detectives when interviewed.  Ramirez was picked up on December 21, 2009 by the Ft. Myers Police Department and taken to the Lee County Jail where she currently is being held.
 
CFO Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud made over 800 insurance fraud-related arrests in the last fiscal year, and investigates various forms of insurance fraud relating to health, life, auto, property and workers’ compensation insurance policies.  Depending on the estimated loss amount, the Department of Financial Services 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 CFO Sink’s Fraud Fighters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445 or visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/fraud.
 
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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.