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CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrests in Statewide Crackdown on Identity Theft, Workers’ Compensation Fraud

5/20/2011

Contact: Alexis Lambert
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – As part of a statewide crackdown on identity theft and workers’ compensation fraud, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the arrests of three Lake Worth men for using stolen social security numbers to fraudulently gain employment. Investigations continue into the possible fraudulent use of the same social security numbers by other individuals across the state.

“These individuals stole the identities of honest Floridians and used them to benefit from workers’ compensation coverage they were not entitled to,” said CFO Atwater. “Further, they may have tarnished the credit of innocent, hardworking citizens, and we are determined to pursue all leads to bring everyone involved in this scam to justice.”

Detectives with the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud on Thursday arrested Wilmer Antonio Reyes, Victor M. Hernandez, and Arturo Arce while at work at Top Cut Lawn Service, located at 6723 Park Lane in Lake Worth. Each is charged with workers’ compensation fraud.  They were taken into custody without incident and booked in to the Palm Beach County Jail. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Four other employees were also determined to be using stolen social security numbers and warrants are being sought for their arrests.

The owners of the stolen social security cards have been contacted and advised to check their credit reports to determine whether their identities have been fraudulently used by these individuals, or others, to obtain credit or other types of benefits.

The Department’s Division of Consumer Services offers free Identity Theft workshops.  To find or request a workshop in your area, call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO or log on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com./consumers.

Anyone with information regarding suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. 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.