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Florida Division of Insurance Fraud Announces Arrest of Broward County Man for Preying on Seniors by Acting as an Unlicensed Contractor

2/16/2015

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2015      
                                         
Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413- 2842

Florida Division of Insurance Fraud Announces Arrest of Broward County Man for Preying on Seniors by Acting as an Unlicensed Contractor
 
The Florida Division of Insurance Fraud, the law enforcement arm of the Department of Financial Services charged with combating acts of insurance fraud in Florida, today announced the arrest of Niraj Sethi for posing as a contractor and accepting payment to complete contracting services for which he was not qualified and did not perform. This is the second time the Division of Insurance Fraud has arrested Sethi on similar charges in less than a month.

Sethi was first arrested as part of an undercover sting operation targeting unlicensed contractors conducted by the Division of Insurance Fraud, in partnership with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Housing Finance Inspector General’s Office and Broward County permitting officials that took place in Tamarac on January 21-22, 2015. At that time, Sethi was found to be engaging in contracting work without a license and without workers’ compensation insurance.

After recognizing his mugshot, an elderly Palm Beach County couple contacted the Broward State Attorney’s Office claiming that Sethi contracted with them to build a sunroom onto their Boynton Beach home but ran off with their $5,000 deposit.
Broward Assistant State Attorney Sean Wydner contacted the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud, and the elderly couple arranged a meeting at nearby restaurant where Sethi was arrested for the second time.

Charged with felony unlicensed contracting, working without workers’ compensation coverage and grand theft, Sethi was booked into the Palm Beach jail and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Workers’ compensation fraud is one of many types of insurance fraud. Anyone with information about suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services has awarded nearly $350,000 to nearly 60 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program. The program rewards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).