CFO GALLAGHER ANNOUNCES TWO MORE ARRESTS OF UNLICENSED
ADJUSTERS IN FT. MYERS AREA
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced that two more
unlicensed adjusters are off the streets in the Ft. Myers area.
James John Tomlinson, 42, and James Stephen Hudgens, 55, both working for Ft.
Lauderdale-based Seabreeze Public Adjusters Inc., were arrested today on one
charge each of working as a public adjuster without a license. If convicted on
the third-degree felony, they each could face statutory sentences of up to five
years in prison in addition to fines of up to $5,000. They have been booked into
the Lee County Jail.
“Storm victims must be sure that they are dealing with a legitimate adjuster and
verify by calling the department’s storm helpline,” Gallagher said. “It is
unfortunate, but disasters bring out the best and the worst in people.”
As CFO, Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, which includes
the Division of Insurance Fraud and the Division of Agent and Agency Services,
Bureau of Investigation, which made today’s arrest. Gallagher also served as
Florida’s Insurance Commissioner when Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992. He said
he hopes that the quick and visible mobilization of department fraud
investigators to storm-damaged communities will work as a deterrent to
Investigators tracked Tomlinson and Hudgens by their advertising signs located
around neighborhoods in Charlotte County. The signs read: “Seabreeze Public
Adjusters Inc. Charley got you down? Let us handle your claim.” Corporation
records show that Seabreeze was established Aug. 19, six days after Hurricane
Charley slammed into Florida’s southwest coast.
Both Tomlinson and Hudgens had their Florida public adjuster licenses cancelled
in December 2002 after their required bonds lapsed.
Gallagher urges storm victims to verify the licensure of any adjuster before
signing any agreement or contract by calling the department’s toll-free storm
hotline at 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676) or by logging on to www.MyFloridaCFO.com.
Our September skyline, above, is Charlotte
Harbor looking toward Punta Gorda before Hurricane Charley.