CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Two Miami Insurance Fraud Arrests
Contact: Ashley Carr
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced two arrests made by the Division of Insurance Fraud in separate cases. Johanna Gonzalez, 32, a licensed insurance agent, was arrested for forging an insurance document and in an unrelated case, Beatriz Martinez, 44, a licensed public adjuster, was arrested for grand theft after failing to return insurance funds owed to consumers. Both are residents of Miami-Dade County.
While working as a licensed insurance agent, Johanna Gonzalez forged a certificate of insurance as a favor for a company she had previously worked with. Gonzalez altered the renewal dates for the company’s policy. The company was undergoing a city inspection that required a current liability insurance policy.
Beatriz Martinez, a Miami public adjuster, allegedly defrauded two Miami area victims by failing to return insurance payments that were owed to them. Contracts were arranged by the company she operated, Capital Adjusters, Inc., to repair the homes of two individuals. Insurance payments worth a combined total of nearly $24,000 were issued to Martinez. As part of the agreement, she was to take a 20 percent fee for her services and return the remaining funds to the consumers. In neither case did she return any of the remaining funds to the consumers, both of which were forced to pay out of pocket for their home repairs.
Johanna Gonzalez was charged with uttering a forged instrument and faces up to five years in person, if convicted. Beatriz Martinez was charged with grand theft and faces up to 15 years in prison. In addition to facing jail time, the Department’s Division of Agent & Agency Services conducted an investigation and has revoked the insurance license of Beatriz Martinez. Johanna Gonzalez is not currently authorized to sell or transact insurance and faces license suspension.
Anyone with information about 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 nearly $350,000 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 spending.