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Two Miami Auto Agents Banned from Insurance Industry


TALLAHASSEE - A Miami insurance agency owner who directed his agents to slip hidden charges into thousands of auto insurance customers' premium bills pleaded guilty today to racketeering and has been banned from working in Florida's insurance industry. An agent who worked for the agency also was banned after pleading guilty to first-degree grand theft.

Jason Salem, 38, president of Salem Discount Insurance, was sentenced to 15 years probation and was ordered to pay $822,000 in restitution to the Miami-Dade County Crime Victims Compensation Fund. He is required to pay $25,000 within 30 days or he faces up to five years in prison. He also was ordered to pay $21,000 in investigative costs. The investigation was conducted by the Florida Department of Insurance through both the Division of Agent and Agency Investigations and the Division of Insurance Fraud.

Yaudat Ohan, 27, who worked as an agent for Salem, was sentenced to five years probation and was ordered to pay $55,000 to the Miami-Dade Crime Victims Compensation Fund, with $10,000 due within 30 days or he faces five years in prison.

The sentences were handed down by Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Dennis Murphy. As part of their plea agreements, Salem and Ohan are required to disclose all details of the scheme. Four other agents who worked for Salem are still facing charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.

Salem Discount Insurance had six offices throughout Miami-Dade, with several of the offices now closed. Department investigators said agency employees were instructed that they could charge as much in hidden costs as they could get away with, ranging from $40 to $200, with commissions of up to 90 percent paid on those hidden ancillary charges.

Anyone with information about this case or any other possible fraud scheme should call the Department of Insurance's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading to a conviction.