CFO Sink Announces Arrests of 6 PIP Scammers in Hillsborough County
CONTACT: Jerri Franz or Jennifer Hirst (850) 413-2842
TALLAHASSEE— Florida CFO Alex Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) today announced the arrest of six PIP fraud scammers in Hillsborough County on chargers of insurance fraud after being caught bilking insurance companies out of thousands of dollars and recruiting participants to play a part in a staged accident.
Yesterday, DIF detectives arrested John Figuereo, 26, Adriana Casanas, 40, Cindy Greer, 22, Noah Adams, 22, and Damian Sweet, 21, each charged with one count of insurance fraud. Today, detectives made their sixth arrest on Shaun Padgett, 27, for two counts of insurance fraud.
“Staged accidents put every Floridian at risk, both physically and financially, and insurance fraud costs us all in the form of higher premiums,” said CFO Sink. “I am taking aggressive action every day to get these scammers off our streets and behind bars where they belong.”
In May 2009, DIF Detective Gloria Fribley-Lykes began investigating Shaun Padgett after receiving a tip from an insurance company. An investigation revealed Padgett knowingly prepared and signed fraudulent health insurance claim forms and received over $15,000 for massage therapy services that were never rendered. Padgett, currently the owner of Padgett Medical Center LLC, turned himself in to the Hillsborough County Jail today and faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
In December 2009, Detective Fribley-Lykes and the Tampa PIP squad also began investigating a staged accident scam. Detectives were able to gain confessions from Casanas, Figuereo, Greer and Adams, who admitted they participated in an intentional vehicle crash. Figuereo, who played the role of a “recruiter” and participant, offered the others “quick cash” to play a part in a staged accident, and following the accident, Geico Insurance paid $12,000 in fraudulent insurance claims. All participants were booked into the Hillsborough County Jail; if convicted, each could face up to two years in prison.
The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are pending.
In the past eleven months, CFO Sink’s Division of Insurance Fraud has made 310 PIP fraud-related arrests. The division 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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