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CFO Jeff Atwater Announces the Arrest of Mortgage Company Owner in $1.2 Million Scam

4/26/2011

Contact: Alexis Lambert 
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE - Florida CFO Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Jose Claudio Pereira, owner of BR Mortgage Group Corporation, on charges of racketeering for his part in fraudulent mortgage transactions in Broward, St. Lucie and Brevard counties.

“Mortgage fraud undermines the stability of Florida’s economy and passes costs on to hard-working and honest Floridians through higher premiums,” said CFO Atwater, “Our dedicated fraud investigators will continue to protect our economy and your hard earned dollars.”

An investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), revealed that in 2006, Pereira facilitated the procurement of over $1.2 million in fraudulent mortgage loans for five properties in St. Lucie and Brevard counties. Records indicate that BR Mortgage Group was paid nearly $50,000 for originating the loans.

United Guaranty Insurance Company, which provided mortgage insurance on the properties, assisted DIF in an investigation that revealed all five listed properties brokered through Pereira contained fraudulent documentation that the bank relied on when issuing the loans.  The loans included fraudulent income and employment information as well as fake social security numbers. 
               
Pereira was arrested late last week and booked in the Broward County Jail on $250,000 bond.

Anyone with information regarding 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. 

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.