Alachua County Man Arrested for Grand Theft and Unlicensed Bail Bonds Activity
Contact: Ashley Carr
LAKE CITY, Fla. – The Florida Department of Financial Services today announced the arrest of 33-year-old Tyrone Johnson for grand theft of a vehicle and unlicensed bail bonds activity. An investigation by the Department‘s Division of Insurance Fraud found that Johnson was acting as a bail bond agent despite having his license revoked following an arrest for aggravated assault in 2011. Johnson is also accused of illegally confiscating the vehicle of a client that was used for collateral.
Johnson’s bail bond agent license was suspended and ultimately revoked in 2012 by the Department’s Division of Agent and Agency Services following an incident when he held three individuals at gunpoint during an attempt to locate a bail jumper. As part of the revocation order, he was deemed permanently ineligible for future licensure as a bail bond agent. The recent investigation, however, found that Johnson was unlawfully advertising as a bail bondsman on the Internet as recently as February 2, 2015.
In addition to operating without a license, Johnson is accused of illegally taking the vehicle of a client who used her vehicle as collateral when she was bonded out of jail. The arrangement to use the vehicle as collateral was made between the client and another bondsman, but Johnson allegedly kicked the bondsman out of his office. He then added new, unlawful fees to the client’s debt and confiscated her vehicle.
The case will be prosecuted by the office of Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Cervone. Johnson faces a possible five year sentence.
Anyone with information about suspected unlicensed activity or insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services has awarded nearly $350,000 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. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).