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Former Insurance Agent Arrested for Grand Theft and Organized Fraud

3/6/2003

CONTACT: Justin Glover
(850) 413-2842

ROYAL PALM BEACH – An area insurance agent was arrested late yesterday and charged with organized fraud and grand theft, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced today.

A joint investigation by the Division of Insurance Fraud and the Bureau of Agent and Agency Investigation found that Carmine Attonito, 50, allegedly misappropriated more than $40,000 in insurance premiums from Allstate Insurance Company.

Attonito ran CJA Insurance, Inc., located at 2677 Forest Hill Blvd., West Palm Beach, from December 1988 through August 200l. Investigators allege that over that time period Attonito failed to forward premium payments from more than 40 policyholders to Allstate. By failing to submit premium funds to Allstate, his actions jeopardized the coverage of the individuals who thought they had purchased insurance.

Attonito was licensed as a life and health agent on March 19, 1990, and as a general lines property and casualty agent on August 8, 1992. His licenses were revoked on January 15, 2002.

Attonito was arrested yesterday at his home by the Royal Palm Beach Police Department. He was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. Bond was set at $5,000. If convicted on all charges, Attonito faces up to 20 years in prison.

The Department of Financial Services' Bureau of Agent and Agency Investigation investigates allegations of improper conduct by licensed agents and those posing as agents. The Division of Insurance Fraud investigates fraud in all types of insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation. Anyone with information about possible insurance fraud 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.