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Clearwater Insurance Agent’s License Stripped After Ruling in First District Court of Appeals

11/30/2015

 
Contact: Ashley Carr                    
(850) 413 – 2842
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida CFO Jeff Atwater today announced that William “Bill” Pearson, 64, has been stripped of his insurance license for charging an illegal, unauthorized fee to a deceased veteran’s senior widow and conducting transactions that cost her thousands of dollars in annuity surrender charges. This follows a nearly yearlong appeal by Pearson to the First District Court of Appeals (DCA) that the Department successfully fought.
 
On February 5, 2015, Pearson’s license was suspended for 15 months following a recommendation by an administrative law judge with the Division of Administrative Hearings. He appealed to the First DCA and on May 14, 2015, the suspension was stayed which allowed him to continue transacting insurance during the appeal process, with the exception that he could not solicit to persons over the age of 60. Each member of the DCA’s three-judge panel agreed that the suspension should be upheld. Following the suspension period, Pearson will have to apply for reinstatement.
 
In July 2010, another insurance agent, Glenn Cummings, gained the victim’s trust and referred her to Pearson in order to liquidate and consolidate her investments. She later testified that no one ever explained investment options or consequences, which Pearson also acknowledged. As part of the rollover transactions that occurred, the senior incurred thousands of dollars in annuity surrender charges. That’s when the Department’s Division of Agent and Agency Services stepped in. The Department mandated that Cummings pay restitution to cover the losses the victim incurred, and his license was placed on probation.
 
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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).