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Unlicensed Agents Allegedly Forged Coverage

10/4/2002

HOMESTEAD - Department of Insurance investigators on Thursday arrested a former licensed insurance agent and his mother, who served as office manager, on charges of selling insurance without a license and issuing fraudulent certificates of insurance for a range of coverages including workers compensation, homeowners and automobile. The investigators also served a search warrant and seized numerous records.

Phillip J. Sammario of Miami, owner of P.J. Insurance Agency in Homestead, was booked into the Dade County Jail along with his mother and office manager Lucille Sammario of Pembroke Pines. Sammario is charged with two counts of the sale of insurance without a license and uttering a forged instrument. His mother is charged with one count of the sale of insurance without a license and two counts of uttering a forged instrument.

Also arrested was licensed agent Martin J. Lann of 1545 Plasencia Ave., Coral Gables, on one count of uttering a forged instrument. Investigators said Lann was added to Sammario's office after Sammario surrendered his license in March.

The department's Bureau of Agent and Agency Investigations and Division of Insurance Fraud, working on separate investigations, determined that Sammario, his mother and Lann had issued fraudulent certificates of insurance.

Department investigators arrested Sammario earlier this year on charges that he allegedly collected about $16,000 in premiums without placing coverage. Those charges are still pending in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Consumers who purchased insurance through Sammario or Lann are urged to contact their insurance company to verify their coverage.

Anyone with information about these cases or another possible fraud scheme should call the department's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading to a conviction. To verify licensure of an agent, call the department's Consumer Helpline at 1-800-342-2762.