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CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces Arrest of Unlicensed Insurance Agent in Pinellas County Auto Insurance Fraud Scheme

2/1/2021

For Immediate Release: Monday, February 1, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces Arrest of Unlicensed Insurance Agent in Pinellas County Auto Insurance Fraud Scheme
 
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Ida Bernadette Newsome of St. Petersburg for allegedly acting as an insurance agent without a license and grand theft.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “As financial schemes continue to rise in Florida, I am committed to holding those looking to prey on Floridians, and especially our seniors, accountable and providing tools and resources so Floridians can spot fraud before it happens. Impersonating an insurance agent and selling fraudulent insurance policies to scam hardworking families is appalling. I am thankful for the dedication of my fraud detectives to seek justice in this case. If you feel you have been the victim of insurance fraud, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com.”
 
An investigation conducted by CFO Patronis’ Bureau of Insurance Fraud detectives revealed that Ida Bernadette Newsome allegedly acted as an auto insurance agent without an active, valid state of Florida license. Newsome advertised herself on Facebook as a licensed insurance agent and quoted the victims a price of $350 for full coverage on any vehicle. Once the price was agreed upon, she would instruct the victims to text her their personal and vehicle information to her phone. After Newsome received their information, she directed them to send $350 to her Cash App via her cellphone number.
 
Newsome was arrested on January 27, 2021, and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. She is charged with acting as an insurance adjuster without a license and grand theft. If convicted, she faces up to 5 years in prison. Individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
 
If anyone has dealt with Ida Bernadette Newsome and suspect you or your family are a victim of fraud, please call the DFS Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.
 
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About CFO Jimmy Patronis 
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).