Eight Floridians who provided information that led to arrests and convictions in five major insurance fraud cases have been given rewards totaling $50,500.
These citizens helped uncover more than $2 million in fraudulent insurance billings leading to 26 arrests to date, according to Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater..
“These citizens stepped up and made a tremendous contribution to the fight against insurance fraud,” said Atwater. “Their actions go beyond these cases—they have helped every Floridian who pays more than they should for insurance premiums.”
Four of the cases involved fraudulent Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claims.
Atwater had made combating insurance fraud on of his agency’s priorities.
“It is unfair and unconscionable that every person who buys an auto insurance policy in the state of Florida is paying for the thieves and enabling industries who are gaming the system, and it won’t be tolerated,” said CFO Atwater, who yesterday addressed the Florida House of Representatives Insurance & Banking Subcommittee on auto insurance fraud.
Rewards issued for PIP cases include:
• $10,000 to a witness who provided information leading to an arrest and conviction, and the closure of a Tampa accident clinic that was billing insurance companies for services never rendered. Potential losses were up to $500,000.
• $10,000 to a witness who provided information leading to seven arrests and convictions, and the closure of two Tampa clinics that filed more than $175,000 in fraudulent insurance claims.
• $1,500 each to two witnesses who provided information that led to the arrests and convictions of four clinic workers who filed $110,000 in fraudulent claims. Additional arrests are pending.
• $2,500 to a witness who provided information leading to the arrests and convictions of three individuals who staged an auto accident and filed more than $48,000 in fraudulent claims through a Tampa clinic.
Three witnesses will be paid a total of $25,000 for providing information against Jacksonville-based Lee and Cates Glass Co., a windshield replacement business that filed 2,245 fraudulent claims totaling more than $1.2 million. There have been 11 arrests associated with this company. The company replaced windshields with after-market windshields and charged insurance companies for new ones. One of the witnesses will be paid $15,000, and two others will receive $8,750 and $1,250.
These cases were investigated by the Division of Insurance Fraud.
The Department of Financial Services said that to date it has awarded almost $250,000 to approximately 40 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.