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Broward Woman Arrested for Filing Fraudulent Hurricane Claim

2/21/2006

CONTACT: Bob Lotane
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE – Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, today announced the arrest of a Broward County woman who attempted to collect twice on her hurricane claim.  Indrani B. Horton, 34, of Margate, was arrested yesterday and charged with fraudulently filing an insurance claim.  The arrest followed an investigation by detectives with the Florida Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud.     
  
Horton is charged with a third degree felony for collecting $7,000 in additional living expense (ALE) money and then using the same receipts from that claim to bill $6,000 to a second insurance company for an ALE claim on another property.  Additional living expenses are paid to policyholders who have to move out of their damaged homes to pay for food, lodging and essential items.
 
"We have seen so many of our friends and neighbors suffer severe damage to their homes over the past two years, and we have fought hard to get their claims settled and their property repaired," said Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  "False claims, and the people who file them, cause delays for Floridians with legitimate claims. It's a serious crime that victimizes us all."
 
If convicted, Horton faces a potential sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. 
 
To help combat fraud, Gallagher is promulgating tougher fraud reporting rules, including requiring insurance companies to:
 
• refer fraudulent claims directly and electronically to DIF,
• detail the process they have in place for identifying and referring suspicious claims,
• establish minimum standards for training employees in anti-fraud efforts,
• update their insurance fraud plans every three years, and
• give DIF authority to order insurers to revise unacceptable fraud plans.
 
The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates fraud in all types of insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation.  To report information about this case or any other possible insurance fraud case, 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.