A Lehigh Acres, Fla. insurance agent can no longer legally transact insurance in Florida after pleading guilty to charges of misappropriating insurance premiums.
The Florida Department of Financial Services announced that Steven Allen Hayhurst-Ricciardi, entered his plea on April 7 and received a sentence of five years probation. Hayhurst-Ricciardi was also ordered to pay restitution to his victims. Following his sentence, the department permanently barred him from the insurance industry in Florida. Hayhurst-Ricciardi was licensed as a life agent in 1994 and as a property and casualty agent in 1997.
Hayhurst-Ricciardi, owner of A-AAA Discount Auto Insurance, 1000 Lee Blvd., was arrested in Lake County, Ill., in October after insurance fraud investigators alleged he fled there to enlist in the U.S. Navy in an attempt to escape arrest. An earlier joint investigation by the Division of Insurance Fraud, Bureau of Agent and Agency Investigation and the State Attorney’s Office in the 20th Judicial Circuit determined that Hayhurst-Ricciardi failed to place commercial automobile coverage for numerous customers. Following his arrest, Hayhurst-Ricciardi was extradited back to Florida.
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 a possible fraud scheme should call the department’s Fraud Hotline at (800) 378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading to a conviction.