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The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud 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.
The Florida Division of Insurance Fraud announced the arrest of Dr. Douglas Price, owner of the Florida Pain Trauma and Injury Clinic in Auburndale, and three others on charges related the operation of a complex PIP fraud scam. Dr. Price, along with Paulin Sanon and Sonya Rivera of Haines City, and Juliena Julien of Winter Haven are accused of recruiting patients to visit Dr. Price’s clinic for treatment of fake injuries following staged accidents.
Following an October 2014 staged accident, Juliena Julien unknowingly recruiting an undercover police officer to assist with their scheme. Julien requested that the officer visit the Florida Pain Trauma and Injury Clinic to report fraudulent injuries and stated that he would receive monetary compensation for doing so.
Between October 2014 and March 2015, an investigation uncovered evidence that Dr. Price’s Auburndale and Tampa clinics were engaged in patient brokering, and also that clinic staff were performing treatments that they were not qualified or licensed to perform. Dr. Price and his associate, Sonya Rivera, offered $500 as compensation for 15 clinic visits, and an additional $500 after 25 visits to the clinic for treatment of injuries that did not exist. A monetary offer was also extended for the recruitment of additional individuals to attend the clinic.
Based on their roles in the scheme, Dr. Price will be charged with three counts of patient brokering, a 3rd degree felony; Sonya Rivera and Paulin Sanon, one of Dr. Price’s marketers, will both be charged with one count of patient brokering; and Juliena Julien will be charged with the unlicensed practice of healthcare.
The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Office of Fiscal Integrity (OFI), in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of the Inspector General (DEP), announced the arrest of Randolph Thomas Perillo, owner of Perillo & Associates LLC, on charges of grand theft and forgery. While under contract with DEP to provide construction services at the Werner Boyce Salt Springs, Perillo falsified an invoice in order to siphon money for personal use.
In the fall of 2014, Perillo and Associates submitted an altered copy of a Duke Energy invoice reflecting the installation cost of new underground facilities. While the correct amount owed was $76,000, Perillo altered the document to read $96,000. Perillo did so with the intent of pocketing the extra $20,000.
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced six Central Florida insurance fraud arrests that breakdown an elaborate Central Florida workers’ compensation insurance fraud scheme. An investigation led by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud revealed a large-scale premium fraud scheme in which these six individuals created multiple shell corporations in order to systematically conceal payroll amounts for the purposes of obtaining low-cost workers’ compensation policies.
Investigators believe that beginning in September 2012, the following Central Florida businesses were opened and operated as shell companies: Alfa Construction, Burgos Construction, Ginel Construction, Rejevaz Services Inc., and PHH Construction. Shell companies are owned by straw owners, or individuals who, for a fee, agree to serve as the legal owner of a business because they have a clean criminal record. These businesses, however, were alternatively run by organizers who directed the day-to-day activities and operations of the illegal activities.
The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud announced two insurance fraud arrests. Ariel Rivero Santana, Jr. and Raul Antonio Perez Payes, both of Miami, were arrested for their roles in separate personal injury protection or PIP fraud scams.
Ariel Santana, 42, was taken into custody after he was revealed to be the true owner of A & J Rehabilitation Center, a PIP clinic located in Miami that illegally submitted more than $350,000 in fraudulent claims to various insurance companies.
In an effort to circumvent licensure requirements, Santana hired chiropractor Peter Maffetone to operate as the clinic’s straw owner. As a licensed health care professional, Maffetone fraudulently obtained a licensure exemption from the Agency for Health Care Administration, allowing the clinic to operate without a license for more than three years. Santana and Maffetone went on to submit fraudulent claims totaling nearly $367,000 to four insurance carriers: Esurance, Geico, Progressive and United Auto.
Six additional participants and organizers tied to Santana have been arrested by DIF detectives within the last year. All of them are connected to two staged accidents that accounted for fraudulent billings of more than $180,000 to multiple clinics, including A & J Rehabilitation Center.
In a separate case, DIF detectives arrested Raul Antonio Perez Payes, 31, after detectives learned that he organized a staged car accident in August 2012. In addition to planning the staged accident, Payes recruited and paid accomplices to participate in the scam.
The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) announced the arrest of Juan C. Garcia, owner of Construction Forever LLC, for his involvement in a workers’ compensation insurance fraud scheme. The investigation conducted by DIF revealed that Garcia provided false and misleading information on his application for workers’ compensation insurance with the intent to lower premium costs.
By falsely deflating his company’s reported payroll and claiming less than $150,000 in payroll costs, Garcia secured a workers’ compensation policy that did not adequately cover the needs of his construction company. Investigative efforts later revealed an elaborate scheme that concealed an accurate payroll of more than $2 million through the use of check cashing stores.
Garcia’s actions caused a loss in excess of $350,000 to the Traveler’s Insurance Company and the Florida Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association. In addition to this monetary loss, Garcia’s actions failed his employees by rendering them vulnerable to potential high-dollar medical and lost wage costs should they become injured while on the job.
We highly recommend that licensees routinely check their MyProfile account(s) for messages from the Department. We send an email notification at the same time to remind you to check your MyProfile account but on rare occasions you may not receive that email. For that reason, we suggest you add our domains dfs.state.fl.us and MyFloridaCFO.com to your email software's Trusted or Safe Senders List to ensure you are able to receive email notifications from us. Licensees who have a valid email address on file with the Department, as required by law, are sent important email notifications when something that affects their application, license, continuing education, or appointment(s) occurs. Additionally, we will keep you informed with warnings regarding new schemes and scams being marketed to licensees. You can update your contact information through your MyProfile account. We want to keep you informed in a timely manner of pertinent information. You are still required to abide by the Florida Insurance Code regardless of whether you read the information we provide or attempt to provide.