Telling The Story
Telling The Story - Consumer Experiences
Contractor solicitation fraud impacts both the insurance industry and consumers resulting in increased insurance rates, and lack of availability and affordability of insurance coverage. These stories are real examples from consumers who have experienced harmful consequences involving contractors. These examples will help to further illustrate the impact fraud has on consumers and the insurance market as a whole.
Naples Roofing Contractor Insurance Fraud Scheme
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services arrested two contractors in Naples for allegedly operating a solicitation scheme for free roof replacements related to damage supposedly caused by Hurricane Irma. Brian Webb and Brandon Jourdan of Webb Roofing & Construction LLC allegedly enticed homeowners with rebates to cover their insurance deductible if they submitted an insurance claim for a roof replacement. The company’s salespeople would require the homeowner to sign an Assignment of Benefits and an "advertising agreement," which allowed the company to place an advertising sign in their yard, and the homeowners were required to provide positive reviews online and give neighborhood referrals.
The contractors face nine counts of filing False & Fraudulent Insurance Claims, a third-degree felony. If convicted on all charges, they each face a maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison and a $45,000 fine.
Manatee County Unlicensed Contractor Sting
In July 2022, eight contractors were caught working in Manatee County without the required contractor's license and doing construction work without having workers' compensation insurance, or a workers' compensation insurance exemption.
The eight individuals (Alberto Vega-Alvarez, Ryan Bogos, Thomas Yannotti, Julian Gubchak, Jeffrey Tenpenny, Luis Pineiro, Daniel Rotar, and Jamey Darnell) were arrested and face a total of 24 charges of Failure to Obtain Workers’ Compensation Coverage and Unlicensed Contracting. Each of the unlicensed contractors could face up to five years in prison if convicted on all charges.
These arrests were a result of joint sting operation conducted by the Department of Financial Services' (DFS) Division of Investigative and Forensic Services’ Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fraud along with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
If you suspect a contractor is working without a license or without proper workers' compensation insurance, contact the DFS Fraud Hotline: 1-800-378-0445 or DFS Online Fraud Reporting Portal. Reports can be made anonymously.
Incomplete Restoration Leaves Home Uninhabitable
The restoration company completely gutted their home, removing personal property, drywall, appliances and other fixtures. The restoration company did not complete the work and the home is uninhabitable. When the couple attempted to rescind the contract, the restoration company sent the couple an invoice totaling more than $99,000 and filed a lien against the property for nearly $100,000.
Homeowners Misled Into Fraudulent Insurance Schemes
LEE COUNTY SENIOR COMMUNITY ROOF CLAIMS
A fraud investigation was initiated involving a senior community in Lee County that involves 15 insurance companies, one contractor, one public adjuster and one attorney.
At least 11 roof claims have been filed citing Hurricane Irma damage. Residents were promised a new roof with no out of pocket expenses if they sign a contract with the contractor, the public adjuster and the attorney and then they are coached on what to say to the company adjuster.
32 CLAIMS FROM A SINGLE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA COMMUNITY
During a 4-week timeframe in 2020, an insurance company received 32 claims from one SW Florida community. The claims included:
- 14 claims for Hurricane Irma damage
- 18 water damage claims for kitchen leaks and bathroom leaks
All of the claims were reported by the same law firm and the same public adjuster. Many of the homeowners stated they were unaware that they were hiring an attorney.
22 AOBs were filed from the same water mitigation company and 21 AOBs were filed from the same mold testing company.
- 19 homes filed 32 individual claims
- 13 homes filed two claims
- 9 homes filed four AOBs each
The claims along with the AOBs have the potential of more than 70 lawsuits. Invoices that were submitted by the law firm, the water mitigation company and the mold testing company totaled more than $816,000.
Contractor Failed to Complete $28,000 Worth of Repairs
A contractor was paid more than $40,000 and never completed the repairs. There was more than $28,000 in repairs outstanding. After numerous delays and arguments with the contractor, the homeowner had to deplete her savings and take out a loan to complete the repairs.
The homeowner has unsuccessfully attempted to recover more than $28,000 from the contractor.
Unusually High Estimate Serves as Red Flag for Homeowner
An Unexpected Assignment of Benefits Contract
A roofing contractor solicited a homeowner to perform a roof inspection. The contractor indicated that damage existed and presented the homeowner with an iPad for signature to allow him to “work with her adjuster”.
The homeowner did not understand what she signed until she received the claim payment, which listed the roofing contractor as a payee. Upon contacting the insurance company, the homeowner was advised that she signed an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) and explained what an AOB was. The homeowner was quite upset and felt swindled and unsuccessfully attempted to rescind the AOB.
To learn more about Assignment of Benefits, review the Assignment of Benefits Consumer Tips Guide.
Homeowner Fears Foreclosure After Contractor Disappears
A Jackson County homeowner filed a Hurricane Michael claim and signed an AOB with a contractor. Upon receiving payment from the insurance company, the contractor completed some initial repair work, stopped and refused to communicate with the homeowner.
Several months later, it was discovered that the contractor was previously arrested in Bay County for working without a license and defrauding homeowners of more than $122,000. The home has still not been repaired and the homeowner is afraid that he will lose his home to foreclosure.
Photos serve as examples only. They do not represent the specific homes and individuals in the consumer stories.
Contact the Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate