Former South Florida Title Agent Arrested for Embezzling Consumer Funds
Contact: Ashley Carr
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud today announced the arrest of Bernard Feldman, owner of Hollywood Title Services, LLC in Hollywood, on multiple felony counts including transacting insurance without a license and grand theft of more than $20,000. Feldman was also permanently barred from the insurance industry and ordered to cease and desist from acting as a title agent without a license.
An investigation conducted in coordination with the Department’s Division of Agent and Agency Services revealed Feldman, a formerly licensed title insurance agent, was transacting insurance business and closings while pocketing consumers’ money with no agent or title agency license. The Department learned of Feldman’s illegal activity while assisting a consumer recoup a deposit from a real estate transaction involving Wharton Realty and Hollywood Title Services.
The investigation revealed that Feldman operated as an unlicensed title agent for three years after his license expired in February of 2012. Furthermore, Mr. Feldman conducted business transactions at his title agency, Hollywood Title Services, which has never been licensed by the Department as a title insurance agency.
This investigation revealed at least three instances wherein Feldman obtained funds from consumers for settlement charges including title insurance and taxes, but pocketed the money instead. In total, Feldman diverted nearly $22,000 for his own personal use.
Investigators believe Feldman may have scammed additional consumers. In an abundance of caution, consumers who have conducted business with Bernard Feldman or Hollywood Title Services are encouraged to contact their title insurance carrier to confirm that coverage is in place.
His case will be prosecuted by the office of Broward County State Attorney Michael J Satz. He will be charged with one count of Organized Scheme to Defraud, three counts of Transacting without a License, three counts of Grand Theft, and three counts of Uttering Forged Instruments.
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 has awarded $350,000 to 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. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).