Division of Insurance Fraud Announces the Arrest of Orlando Insurance Agent for Defrauding Insurance Company of More Than $150,000
Contact: Ashley Carr
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud today announced the arrest of Orlando insurance agent Joseph Oddo, 46, for defrauding Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of more than $150,000 in commission payments he was not entitled to.
The investigation conducted revealed that Oddo fraudulently used his mother’s name and insurance license to sell 19 Ameritas Life Corp. insurance policies because he was not appointed to sell for the company. With each policy sale, Oddo collected an advanced commission and represented to his clients that a special program permitted him to provide a ‘free’ life insurance policy. Bank records and interviews with Joseph Oddo’s clients showed that for a short time, Oddo deposited premium funds into his clients’ bank accounts - funds that Ameritas would later debit from the account.
However, Oddo stopped paying the premiums causing the policies to get cancelled. By failing to keep the policies current, Oddo had not earned the commission payments that were paid out to him and was stealing from the insurance company. Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. was blind to Joseph Oddo’s scheme, and it wasn’t until the policies lapsed and were cancelled that his fraudulent actions were revealed.
After learning of a warrant for his arrest, Joseph Oddo turned himself into the Orange County Jail. His bond was set at $20,000, and he is charged with one count of Scheme to Defraud over $50,000 and one count of Fraudulent Use of Personal Identification Information. His case will be prosecuted by the office of State Attorney Jeffrey L Ashton, and he faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted. The Department’s Division of Agents & Agency Services has suspended his license to transact insurance in Florida.
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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).