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Sarasota Attorney Charged with Insurance Fraud


Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
SARASOTA—An attorney is facing an insurance fraud charge after state fraud investigators documented that he had continued to work while collecting more than $130,000 in disability benefits.
Peter W. Martin, 58, surrendered on the charge Wednesday afternoon at the Sarasota County Jail and was released on a $2,500 bond.  The charge was based on an investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud.  If convicted, Martin faces up to 15 years in prison in addition to fines and restitution.
"Insurance fraud is wrong no matter who does it," said Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  "But it is particularly offensive when committed by someone who has sworn to uphold the law."
The investigation, based on a referral from Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, uncovered that Martin submitted false information on a disability claim.  Martin reported that, following a motor vehicle accident, he became partially disabled and that his condition deteriorated making him totally disabled in September of 2003.  Fraud investigators found that Martin had continued to practice law in Florida as well as New York while he was collecting disability benefits from July 2003 through February 2004.
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 an arrest and conviction.