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Former Insurance Agent Charged with Swindling Elders

8/4/2005

CONTACT: Nina Banister 
(850) 413-2842 
 
TALLAHASSEE—Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher today announced the arrest of a man accused of defrauding at least nine South Florida senior citizens by offering them a quote for one level of long-term care insurance but selling them another.
 
Ronald S. Rogart, 60, was arrested Sunday in Gilchrist County but lived in Miami Beach during the investigation by the Department of Financial Services' Division of Agent and Agency Services, Bureau of Investigation, and the Division of Insurance Fraud.  The alleged fraud occurred between 2002 and 2004. The department revoked Rogart's agent licenses in December. 
 
 "This man targeted victims between the ages of 72 and 86 and fed on their fears and anxieties about aging," said Gallagher, who oversees the department.  "One of our highest priorities is protecting our most vulnerable citizens, and we will continue to aggressively pursue those who try to take advantage of them."
 
Rogart is charged with nine counts each of elder exploitation and insurance fraud and is being held in the Gilchrist County Jail on a $99,000 bond.  He is expected to be extradited to South Florida, and if convicted faces up to five years in prison on each of the insurance fraud counts and up to 30 years in prison on each count of elder exploitation.
 
The victims lived in Palm Beach and Broward counties, where Rogart ran advertisements in local newspapers offering Long Term and Home Health Care Programs under the name of "South Florida Senior Advisors."  Rogart would meet at the customer's home or apartment where he would explain coverage levels from a variety of insurance companies.  But detectives said the prices he quoted were less than the actual cost of the policy, so Rogart would submit an application that reflected a lower level of coverage that matched the quote he gave the customer.  When he received the policy, he would replace the real Schedule Page with a forged one so the clients wouldn't know they had been sold less coverage than what they had asked to buy.  But a customer filed a complaint after a door-to-door insurance agent pointed out disparities in the policy. 
 
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.

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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.