CFO Sink's Staged Accident Sweep Nets 5th Suspect in Miami Ring
CONTACT: Kevin Cate or Jennifer Hirst (850) 413-2842
TALLAHASSEE—Florida CFO Alex Sink today announced the arrest of Angel Sotolongo Sierra, 28, the fifth individual arrested for participation in a staged auto accident ring in Miami. Sierra is charged with seven felonies and faces up to 105 years in prison. Since July 2009, CFO Sink’s investigators have arrested 260 people for PIP fraud, culminating in 156 convictions.
“Staged accidents put every Floridian at risk, both physically and financially,” said CFO Alex Sink. “I am taking aggressive action every day to get these scammers off our streets and behind bars where they belong.”
Sierra’s codefendants, Abdel Tome, 40, Luis Rivero Dominguez, 34, Hilda Somodvilla-Licea, 81, and Sergio Cordero, 21, were arrested earlier this month after an investigation revealed they received over $90,000 from various fraudulent insurance claims. The Miami staged auto accident ring recruited participants into the scam by offering up to $2,000 in cash. The investigation is ongoing.
According to statistics from CFO Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud is the most reported type of fraud, accounting for 30 percent of all referrals received in FY 2008-09. DIF has seven PIP fraud squads dedicated solely to investigating PIP fraud across the state. These squads are located in the division’s Central and South Florida regional offices where PIP fraud is most prevalent. Each squad works in cooperation with local law enforcement and consumer groups.
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