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CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Additional Charges for Palm Beach Gardens Ponzi Schemer

8/1/2012

Contact: Anna Alexopoulos                                      
(850) 413-2842
  
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the filing of additional charges against convicted Ponzi schemer Joseph D. Ransberger, 49, for 105 counts of grand theft and money laundering.  The new charges allege that Ranzberger, a former Palm Beach Gardens insurance agent, conducted a Ponzi scheme to defraud premium finance companies out of more than $1 million dollars in premium finance loans. A premium finance company is a lending institution that finances insurance premiums for a fee. 
 
“Career scam artists undermine the intent of insurance coverage and put businesses at risk for their own personal gain,” CFO Atwater said. “Our fraud investigators will continue to track down these schemes and put the perpetrators behind bars where they belong.”
 
The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) conducted an investigation after receiving a complaint by SIUPREM, a licensed premium finance company, which alleged Ransberger submitted over 100 fraudulent premium finance agreements in a 14-month period totaling more than $1 million. The applications contained misrepresentations regarding fake insurance policies, placed with Lloyd’s of London through International Risk Specialist Inc., a shell company established by Ransberger.
 
These charges come as Ransberger is currently serving a one-year prison sentence for operating similar premium finance Ponzi schemes. He utilized the proceeds from these schemes to finance a lavish lifestyle for himself and his wife.
 
The Palm Beach County Office of the State Attorney, 15th Judicial Circuit will be prosecuting the new charges against Ransberger. If convicted, he faces up to an additional 30 years in prison.    
 
Anyone with information about these or any other incidents of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $275,000 to more than 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program.  The program rewards individuals 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, oversees the Department of Financial Services.  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.