Insurance Company Employee Arrested for Stealing $1 Million from Employer
Contact: Ashley Carr
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the recent arrest of Jennifer Summerlott, a Customer Service Representative, following a scheme that allegedly bilked her Ft. Lauderdale-based employer, Fairway Insurance Group, LLC (Fairway) out of more than $1 million. Summerlott is accused of orchestrating an elaborate scheme to defraud her employer through the use of fake insurance invoices to reroute company funds for her personal financial benefit.
Summerlott served as the accounts payable and commercial lines manager for Fairway from 2006-2015. In 2015, account irregularities were noticed by other Fairway staff members who, after suspecting that they might have uncovered insurance fraud, reported their findings to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. The case was referred to insurance fraud investigators within the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS).
The subsequent investigation revealed that between 2010 and 2015, Summerlott allegedly created and submitted dozens of fake electronic invoices that were supposedly from various insurance companies that regularly conducted business with Fairway. Summerlott would then prepare company checks tied to Fairway’s company account to pay these fabricated invoices. Doing so enabled Summerlott to retrieve the fake payments and divert them to a personal bank account.
In addition, DIFS’ investigation found that Summerlott refinanced 40 insurance policies that Fairway clients had previously paid in full. As a result, Fairway received checks from third-party financing agencies to cover the cost of the insurance premiums. Summerlott used those payments to cover up the massive company losses that accrued as a result of her fake invoice scheme.
Summerlott was arrested February 27, 2017, and transported to the Broward County Jail. She has been charged with four first-degree felonies, including organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, criminal use personal ID and diverting insurance trust funds.
This case will be prosecuted by the Broward State Attorney’s Office, 17th Judicial Circuit. If convicted, Summerlott faces up to 30 years in prison.
# # #
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal 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).