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Volume 6, No. 3 - March 2017

News You Can Use

- Updating you on what's going on

 

Former Insurance Agent Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Stealing $100K+ from Elderly

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the recent conviction of former Florida insurance agent Vinodh Raghubir, who was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing more than $100,000 from two elderly clients.

In late 2015, employees with one of the client’s financial institutions, Fairwinds Credit Union, noticed that their client had written a large check to pay a life insurance premium. However, instead of following the standard industry procedure of making the check payable to the insurance company, the client's check was payable to a contracted insurance agent. Concerned, the credit union staff immediately reported their suspicions to AmeriLife Group, the company that managed the insurance agent.

Knowing that the Department of Financial Services specializes in investigating insurance fraud, AmeriLife Group asked the Department’s insurance fraud division to launch an investigation. Their investigation revealed that Raghubir gained the trust of two clients, both over the age of 70, and convinced them to purchase life insurance policies and oil annuities. He prepared the paperwork and collected premium payments, but Raghubir never actually purchased the products. Instead, he took their money and deposited it into his personal account. In total, he collected $123,898.

“As a former banker myself, I applaud the keen awareness and good judgement exercised by the Fairwinds Credit Union employees who flagged this transaction,” said CFO Atwater. “Floridians are the eyes and ears of their community, and I am proud that savvy professionals identified this crime so we were able to stop his fraud. Stealing from the elderly will absolutely not be tolerated.”

The Orange County State Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. In addition to his four-year sentence, he’s ordered to pay full restitution to his two victims. Following his incarceration, he will serve a 20-year probationary period, during which he will be restricted from working in a sales position or financial field, with the exception of retail, and is forbidden from having unsupervised contact with anyone over the age of 65.

In addition, Raghubir’s insurance agent license was previously revoked by the Department’s Division of Insurance Agent & Agency Services as part of its joint efforts with DIFS and he is now permanently barred from licensure.

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Florida Man Arrested for Setting Car on Fire to Collect Insurance Payout

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the recent arrest of Orange County resident Michael Abrams on charges of arson, insurance fraud and grand theft after he was accused of devising a plan to have his 2016 Toyota Camry stolen and destroyed so that he could collect an insurance payout.

“More often than not, acts of arson are committed in order to collect insurance payouts or to cover up a larger crime,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “To concoct the plan that he did is an elaborate act of fraud—one that undoubtedly drives up the cost of insurance for every Floridian. I’m proud of our investigative team for getting to the truth and putting this man behind bars where he belongs.”

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Insurance Company Employee Arrested for Stealing $1 Million from Employer

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater 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).

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South Florida Man Arrested in Fraudulent Real Estate Investment Scheme

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) announced the arrest of Doral, FL real estate agent, Javier Ortiz on March 16, 2017. Mr. Ortiz was arrested on charges of organized fraud and grand theft in connection with his alleged role in promoting a fraudulent real estate investment scheme that victimized at least one Florida investor.

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Office of Insurance Regulation Issues Designated Statistical Agent for Workers’ Compensation RFP

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) recently issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the purpose of seeking one or more qualified firms to perform the functions of a designated statistical agent for Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability insurance as permitted by Florida Statutes. This procurement will be accepting qualified responses and required documents through April 27, 2017. The anticipated date to announce the Notice of Intent to Award to the qualified vendor or vendors will be on May 8, 2017. The RFP may be viewed on the Vendor Bid System at: http://www.myflorida.com/apps/vbs/vbs_www.ad_r2.view_ad?advertisement_key_num=132080.

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