CFO Atwater Wants You to Help Track Down the ‘Most Wanted’ Insurance Fraud Fugitives
Contact: Alexis Lambert
TALLAHASSEE—In a continuing effort to implement new strategies to combat insurance fraud, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today launched the “Most Wanted” insurance fraud website, www.myfloridacfo.com/pressoffice/mostwanted, that will engage Floridians in the search for scammers who have eluded law enforcement. The website will feature three individuals a quarter who are wanted by the CFO’s Division of Insurance Fraud or State Fire Marshal on charges ranging from organized scheme to defraud to arson.
“Insurance fraud costs the average Florida family between $400 and $700 a year in increased premiums, and I want your help bringing the ‘most wanted’ insurance fraud scammers to justice,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “Together we can get these crooks off the street, decrease your insurance premiums and put money back in your pocket through our insurance fraud reward program.”
This quarter CFO Atwater wants your help locating:
• Erline Telfort, along with the principal operator of E&M Insurance Services and Santa Maria’s Insurance Services, conducted a “ponzi” scheme to steal approximately $500,000 from a finance company. From January 2009 to December 2009, E&M Insurance prepared over 200 fraudulent insurance policies and deposited over $600,000 into the business’ account; the money should have been sent to the insurance company to pay the full price of the homeowners’ insurance policy. Only approximately $92,000 was paid back to the finance company. Telfort’s last known address was 10757 Cleary Blvd., Plantation, Fla.
• Osvadi Marrero, owner of Yosuni Medical Center Corporation, in November 2003 allegedly crashed his 2003 Humvee into two other cars. Witnesses called police to report a road rage incident in which the driver had fled the scene. The drivers of the other cars told police that only their two cars were involved in the accident. It was later learned the participants were promised between $700 and $800 for pretending to be injured. Those two drivers, along with their passengers, were arrested for insurance fraud/staged accident, a second-degree felony. In January 2005, while pending the resolution of the above case, Osvadi Marrero was arrested for paying a runner to provide accident patients for an accident clinic, in which Marrero had vested interest, in exchange for money. Marrero was charged with two counts of patient brokering, two counts of insurance fraud, and two counts of grand theft with a $35,000 bond. In March 2005 Marrero failed to report to the court so a warrant was issued for his arrest. Marrero’s last known address was 9480 SW 10th St., Miami, Fla.
• Anthony Phillips, who acted as a mortgage broker, in November 2003 helped obtained a $1.2 million mortgage for a “buyer” to purchase a Ft. Lauderdale condominium. The private lender approved the mortgage and wired $1.2 million to a title company. Once in possession of the money, the title agent wired the money to three separate accounts. None of the money was used to purchase the condominium. The buyer, title agent and mortgage broker were all later arrested; however, Phillips fled after being released on bond and has been a fugitive since 2005. Phillips’ last known address was 8836 W State Rd. 84, Davie, Fla.
Anyone with information about these or any other incidents of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0455. Individuals who provide tips can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $250,000 to approximately 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services including the Division of Insurance Fraud. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.