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Fort Lauderdale Company Owner Charged with Theft

9/23/2003

CONTACT: Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

FORT LAUDERDALE – Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced today that a former owner and director of Mobile Home Division of America, Inc., has surrendered to state insurance fraud investigators on a grand theft charge stemming from allegations that he misappropriated nearly $1 million in insurance premium funds.

William James Little, 65, was transported Monday afternoon to the Broward County Jail. His arrest follows an investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud. The Broward County State Attorney's Office will prosecute the first-degree felony charge. If convicted, Little faces up to 30 years in prison.

"When businesses lose money to fraud, we all pay for it through higher costs for goods and services and sometimes, unfortunately, with lost jobs and livelihoods," Gallagher said. "The allegations in this case are serious, and the charge reflects that."

MHD, formerly located at 2701 NW 62nd St., entered into third-party administrative agreements with various insurance carriers to collect premiums for property and casualty business insurance and, in some cases, to handle claims processing and payment.

In early 1999, MHD began to pay its own business operating expenses and the claims and expenses of State National Insurance Company, Inc., from premium funds collected for Accredited Surety and Casualty Company, Inc. By December 1999, MHD was more than $5 million in debt to Accredited and other insurance companies. Investigators determined that more than $987,000 collected from Accredited was diverted to pay other expenses.

Little was the only owner, or director, with signature authority on the accounts from which the funds were taken.

The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates fraud in all types of insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation. To report information about this case or any other possible insurance fraud case, call the department's fraud hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to a conviction.