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Gallagher to Revoke Four South Florida Agents’ Licenses

11/9/2001

Tallahassee-Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher announced today that he is taking action to revoke the licenses of four insurance agents in South Florida for perpetrating an organized scheme against the elderly.

A separate criminal investigation into these activities is now being conducted by the Department's Division of Insurance Fraud in conjunction with the Office of Statewide Prosecutor and the Office of the Attorney General.

"These agents are involved in a con which dupes the elderly into purchasing insurance they do not need or want," Gallagher said. "Victims were taken advantage of not only financially, but personally. The department is now taking action to make sure that these agents do not scam anyone else."

Administrative complaints have been filed against Brian Lee Shechtman of Hollywood, Mark Mittleman of Miami, Jay Steven Goldman of Aventura and Gregory John O'Connor of Miramar. The complaints are based on an extensive investigation conducted by the Department's Bureau of Agent and Agency Investigation.

The complaints stem from a scam in which former agents Dean and Brad Shechtman, whose licenses were previously revoked for similar activities, paid Mittleman, Goldman, and O'Connor for the fraudulent use of their credentials. Together with Brian Shechtman, the group, all cousins, convinced elderly victims in Bonita Springs, Englewood, Punta Gorda, Fort Myers, North Fort Myers, Plant City, Sebring, Port Charlotte, and Naples to purchase or renew health insurance policies when in fact the consumers were unknowingly sold life insurance policies.

Brian Shechtman also is accused of depositing insurance company checks payable to twelve policyholders, which he then should have forwarded to the policyholders. Evidence indicates Shechtman failed to return the money to the rightful owners.

Under Florida law, each agent is entitled to request a hearing held before a state administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings.

The Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner has the authority to permanently remove any agent from participating in the insurance industry, suspend and revoke licenses, as well as impose fines.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have been a victim, please contact the department's Fraud hotline at 1-800-378-0445.