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Insurance Agent Charged with Forging Applications


Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
JACKSONVILLE—An insurance agent has been charged with using the personal information of customers, many of whom were elderly, to forge life insurance policy applications and steal more than $22,000 in insurance commissions.
Investigators with the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, arrested Herbert Amos Jones, 48, late Wednesday on 60 felony counts – four counts each of criminal use of personal identification, forgery, scheme to defraud and grand theft.  Investigators identified 15 victims; the oldest victim was 87.  Jones was booked into the Duval County Jail on a bond of $30,000.  The case will be tried in Duval County by the State Attorney's Office in the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
"We all bear the cost of insurance fraud through higher premiums, but in this case the victims were put at risk of financial devastation that too often occurs with identify theft," said Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, who oversees the department and the Division of Insurance Fraud.  "We will aggressively pursue anyone who tries to take advantage of our citizens."
Jones was assigned to sell pre-need burial policies for Marion Graham Mortuary from late June to early November 2004.  During that time, the department's Division of Agent and Agency Services received a report that Jones used customers' personal information to complete and submit fraudulent life insurance policy applications, including forged signatures, to Great Western Insurance Company.   He then submitted money orders for the first month's premium to collect commissions on the policies.  Jones was terminated from Great Western on November 3, 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 Fighters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.  A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to a conviction. 
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.