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CFO Sink Sends Lake County Insurance Claims Adjuster and Four Pasco Ccounty Co-Conspirators to Jail

3/1/2010

CONTACT: Kevin Cate or Jennifer Hirst, 850-413-2842
 
- Suspects accused of stealing more than $240K in insurance fraud scam -
 
TALLAHASSEE— Florida CFO Alex Sink today announced the arrests of five individuals involved in defrauding Zurich Insurance Group, including Zurich claims adjuster Donald Alfred Toohey, III, 30, by creating multiple falsified and fabricated claims in excess of $240,000. The arrests are the result of an investigation by CFO Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF). If convicted, each faces up to 15 years in prison.
 
“Insurance fraud isn’t just a crime against one company, it’s a crime against every Floridian,” said CFO Sink. “I’m committed to ensuring that Floridians aren’t footing the bill for insurance scams like this with higher premiums.”
 
CFO Sink’s detectives received an anonymous tip in September 2009 of possible fraudulent activity by Toohey, and the resulting investigation uncovered that Toohey as well as four more individuals were committing illegal acts. Each participant received payments from 26 different claims totaling over $240,000 from August 2004 through June 2009 in various counties throughout the state.
 
The investigation revealed that Toohey used his position as a claims adjuster to create fictitious claims for monetary gain for himself as well as Scott J. Kincaid, 44, Brian Frederick Kneifer, 26, Anthony Michal Kneifer, 26, and Tricia Ann Allen, 27.  The scam was initiated by Toohey, who had access to the paperwork to file the fraudulent insurance claims.  Toohey would create a fraudulent file and claim on of each of the participants, showing reason for reimbursement to the individual for injuries occurring either to the person or their automobile during a car accident. The participant would then receive a check in the mail with the understanding that a portion would be paid to Toohey.
 
The initial investigation into Toohey led DIF Detective Steve Firestone to further review the activities and implications of the acts committed by the five individuals, confirming three or more checks were received and cashed by each of these individuals with thefts ranging from $8,800 to over $67,000. With cooperation by the Zurich Insurance Group, it has been determined none of the five individuals were insured with Zurich at the time of payment, or at any other time, and payment audits confirmed the payouts were fraudulent.
 
All five participants have been charged with Grand Theft under FS 812.014(1) (b) (2) and Conspiracy FS 777.04(3) and were booked into the Pasco County Jail.
 
CFO Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud made over 830 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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