CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrests of Three Jacksonville Residents for PIP Fraud
Contact: Chris Cate
TALLAHASSEE – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the arrests of three Jacksonville residents for personal injury protection (PIP) fraud. Yolanda Vargas, Christian Vargas and Willdelyn Rodriguez are each charged with one count of committing a staged motor vehicle accident and one count of insurance fraud.
“PIP fraud hurts all Floridians by driving up the cost of insurance,” said CFO Atwater. “I will not tolerate these harmful acts, and I am proud of our investigators for diligently working to hold these fraudsters accountable.”
Investigators are still searching for Felix Vargas who is accused of recruiting the arrested individuals to participate in the PIP scheme. He is believed to be connected to a large scale identity theft ring in New York City as well an IRS scam in which he directed the payment of others’ tax returns to himself.
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 $349,000 to nearly 60 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.
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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 state spending.