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Woman Charged with Stealing Guaranty Funds


CONTACT: Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

JACKSONVILLE -- A woman is charged with stealing more than $100,000 from the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, where she was employed, by opening a fictitious vendor account and submitting fraudulent claims.

Insurance fraud investigators with the Department of Financial Services on Thursday arrested Shirley J. Kay, 42, for grand theft and insurance fraud at the association's Jacksonville offices. If convicted, she faces as much as 30 years in prison.

The association (FIGA) was created by the Legislature to handle the claims of insolvent property and casualty insurance companies. Kay's arrest stemmed from a call Thursday morning from FIGA officials who said that they had uncovered evidence of embezzlement. Kay, of 7651 Gate Parkway, Apt. 308, had been employed as a claims adjuster for the past year.

"I am grateful to FIGA for taking quick and decisive action to protect the interests of those they serve," said Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who also oversees the Department of Financial Services. "Any shortfall in the association's accounts could be very detrimental to their mission."

After setting up the fictitious vendor account, investigators said, Kay initiated a number of fictitious claims, using the advantage of her position at FIGA. As a result, the FIGA paid approximately $104,000 directly to the fictitious vendor account.

Investigators with the department's Division of Insurance Fraud, arrested Kay around 3 p.m. and booked her into the Duval County Jail.

The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance. Anyone with information about this case or another possible fraud scheme should 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.