CFO Atwater Announces Arrest of Ringleader in ‘Operation Dirty Money’ Scheme
Contact: CFO Atwater’s Press Office
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Domenick Pucillo, one of the ringleaders in the fraud schemes targeted as part of continuing enforcement efforts under “Operation Dirty Money.” Pucillo filed false documentation with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation seeking to become a principal of I&T Financial Services, LLC, a business that allegedly was set up to execute a large-scale check-cashing scheme for the purposes of evading the cost of workers’ compensation coverage. During this investigation, approximately $1 million was seized by the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force.
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force investigation revealed that Pucillo became business partners with Evelio Suarez in January 2012 to form I&T Financial Services, LLC. Suarez, a convicted felon, could not legally obtain a license to run a money service business, and therefore, Pucillo allegedly knowingly concealed the true identity of his business partner and instead listed a straw owner as the licensee of the business in order to obtain a license. Suarez was arrested in October 2012 on multiple charges including conspiracy to commit workers’ compensation fraud and grand theft. The individual listed as the straw owner is cooperating with the investigation.
Pucillo was arrested yesterday by agents from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and will be prosecuted by the office of Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle. Pucillo is charged with filing a false and fraudulent document, forgery, uttering a forged instrument and operating an unlicensed money service business. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 45 years in prison.
The Office of Financial Regulation assisted the task force by providing financial data support and licensure information.
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force was jointly created by CFO Atwater’s Division of Insurance Fraud and the Broward Sheriff’s Office in August 2011. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is now a partner in the Task Force as well. Through joint efforts, the task force has been able to successfully shut down 27 shell companies and identify $300 million in fraudulent transactions associated with these companies.
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.