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Gallagher Announces $16,000 in Fraud Rewards

12/15/2005

Information Helped Stop at least $1 Million in Fraudulent Insurance Claims
 
CONTACT:  Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, today announced $16,000 in cash rewards to four individuals, including a child, who provided information that led fraud detectives with the Department of Financial Services to thwart more than $1 million in fraudulent insurance claims.
 
The biggest reward of $10,000 went to two individuals who testified against a man who falsely claimed to be injured by falling ceiling tiles in his apartment.
 
"Insurance fraud schemes are growing increasingly complex and costly, and tips like these help us root out and aggressively prosecute such crimes," said Gallagher, who oversees the department.  "We appreciate these individuals coming forward and encourage others to call us if they suspect fraud.  We all pay for insurance fraud, and working together we can do something about it."
 
The department's Fraud Fighters program pays up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to the arrest and conviction of individuals committing insurance fraud.  The individual rewards are based on the potential dollar loss in each case. 
 
Below are summaries of the cases (names of informants are held confidential):
 
• Eric Reedy claimed he was in bed the evening of Oct. 18, 1996, when heavy rain caused part of the ceiling to fall in at his St. Petersburg apartment.  However, he told others of his scheme to falsely claim he was in the bed in order to file a liability claim against Allstate Insurance Co., which insured the complex.  In September 1997, an attorney representing Reedy sent a letter to Allstate demanding $1 million, the complex's policy's limit for bodily injury liability coverage.  On March 5, 2003, Reedy pleaded guilty to perjury and adjudication was withheld. The $10,000 reward was split between two individuals.
 
• Leslie Galloway was charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer when she falsely claimed that she was involved in a Tampa crash that her sister Caroline was involved in instead.  A witness at the scene of the May 2002 accident said Caroline walked away from the accident and that a man and a different woman returned.  That woman identified herself as Leslie Galloway.  Caroline, who had no insurance, gave false statements to American Family and State Farm Insurance companies and, posing as Leslie, obtained more than $15,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled.  Caroline was convicted of two counts of false and fraudulent insurance claims and grand theft on June 24, 2005. Leslie Galloway was convicted of obstruction of a law enforcement officer on September 19, 2005. 
 
• In July 2004, Joe Patrick Rich reported to State Farm Insurance Company that his 2002 Volvo was stolen from the parking lot of a Hallandale restaurant.   After a call from an informant, the car was recovered in September from a Miami warehouse.  Rich was charged with insurance fraud.  The informant was given a $1,000 reward.
 
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 these cased 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.
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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.