CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrest of Escambia County Insurance Agent in Life Insurance Scam
Contact: CFO Atwater’s Press Office
TALLAHASSEE - Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the arrest of insurance agent Randall Petersen, 47, of Cantonment, on several felony charges including insurance fraud, grand theft and criminal use of personal identification. Investigators contend that Petersen created a fictitious employment company to lure individuals into applying for fraudulent life insurance policies earning him more than $330,000 in bonuses and commissions.
An investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, revealed that Petersen created a shell company using the business name of College Consultants of the Gulf Coast to lure individuals into attending employment seminars throughout the southeastern United States including Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.
Petersen placed an estimated 285 fictitious life insurance policies with American National Insurance Company, which paid him bonuses and commissions of more than $330,000. American National informed the department of the suspected fraud once the policies started canceling for nonpayment.
Petersen was booked into the Escambia County Jail. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison. Pending the outcome of the criminal investigation, administrative action may be taken against his insurance license.
Anyone with information 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.