Volume 2 Number 20
May 16, 2005





Investigators suspect hundreds of residents in South Florida were victimized  

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced the arrest of an individual involved in defrauding hundreds of Floridians in a discount health plan fraud ring. Enrique Angulo, 41, of Miami-Dade County, was arrested by investigators from the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud. 

“Criminals who prey on the needy deserve no mercy,” said Gallagher, who oversees the department.  “This suspect stole from people looking for affordable healthcare for their families and people like him are part of the reason insurance costs are rising throughout the state. Getting criminals like this off the street is good news for all Floridians.” 

Angulo, presently on four years probation for grand theft in excess of $20,000, was arrested, charged with violation of probation, as well as second-degree grand theft, uttering forged instruments, and organized scheme to defraud.  Currently Angulo is being held at the Miami-Dade County Jail without bond. If convicted, Angulo faces a maximum of 25 years in prison. CONTINUED

Gallagher pushed for legislation last year that now requires companies selling discount health plans in Florida be licensed.

“This is an industry where the potential for rampant fraud was great.  Too many Floridians were being ripped off by unscrupulous operators, and many were made to think they were buying health insurance when in fact they were signing up for discounts on medical services or prescriptions,” said Gallagher.       

To verify that a plan is authorized go to www.MyFloridaCFO.com or call 1-800-342-2762. 

Angulo purchased Americ Health Benefits, a Discount Health Plan in December 2004 after its owner was arrested and jailed on separate charges of insurance fraud. In January 2005, Angulo realized the business he purchased was a front for criminal enterprises and had no legitimate use. Rather than close the business, he too began defrauding unwilling consumers.

 This particular scam worked like this: A consumer would come to Americ Health Benefits to buy a low-cost health discount plan. As part of the registration process, Angulo would request voided or blank checks from the consumer. In addition to charging customers for a discount plan he knew he could not provide, Angulo would create check drafts to withdraw the monthly membership fees from the victims’ accounts. 

One victim discovered the health insurance policy she was paying for was worthless after seeking medical attention for her husband and son. The victim was left with more than $15,000 dollars in hospital bills after her calls to Angulo went unanswered. Up until his arrest, Angulo continued to withdraw monthly membership fees in excess of $5,000 from a closed account in the victim’s name.  

Consumers that believe they purchased this discount health plan from Angulo are encouraged to contact the Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud hotline at 1-800-378-0445.  

Gallagher reminds consumers, “Verify before you buy.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Lake County, the 43rd county,
was established  May 27, 1887, being taken from Orange and Sumter counties and named for the large number of lakes within its boundaries. The courthouse, above, was built in 1924.