The Florida Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), which operates under the direction of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, announced the arrest of William David Rodeffer III of Folkston, Ga. Rodeffer allegedly accepted insurance premium payments from two clients for insurance policies that were never purchased. Nearly $40,000 in premium payments was paid to Rodeffer on these two policies, one of which was for workers’ compensation insurance.
In total, nearly $70,000 in financial losses were allegedly caused by Rodeffer.
Once licensed as an insurance agent in Georgia, Rodeffer was working with an agent in Georgia but moved to Yulee, Fla., when they opened a second office there. He applied for a license in Florida but was denied because of his criminal history, meaning he was not qualified to transact insurance business in Florida.
DIF’s investigation revealed that for nearly three years, Rodeffer allegedly continued to illegally sell insurance policies in Florida despite his denied application for licensure. It was during this time that he repeatedly accepted premium payments from two clients for policies he never purchased, meaning that customers never had coverage, DIF said.
One of the clients, a 91 year-old Floridian, thought he purchased a workers’ compensation policy from Rodeffer. DIF said it wasn’t until one of the workers under the policy was injured and filed a claim against the policy sold by Rodeffer that it was realized the policy never existed. DIF reported at least 10 premium payments were made only to find out that all those payments were kept by Rodeffer leaving the 91 year-old without workers’ compensation coverage and $30,000 in medical bills to cover.
The second client, American Legion Post 283, was led to believe they held general liability property insurance coverage after providing multiple premium payments to Rodeffer. DIF’s investigation went on to show that Rodeffer failed to obtain insurance coverage for them as well.
Rodeffer is currently awaiting trial in Georgia for similar charges and had previously been charged in 2014 by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office for a separate but similar offense.
DIF said its investigators believe strongly that other victims – specifically senior citizens – remain in Florida. DIF asks that anyone who may have conducted insurance-related business with Rodeffer, or knows any who has, to contact them.
Rodeffer was booked on Feb. 9, 2016 into the Duval County Pre-Trial Detention Center with a bond of $200,024. He has been charged with one count of grand theft from a person 65 years of age or older, grand theft, scheme to defraud, and five counts of conducting insurance related business while being unlicensed.
This case will be prosecuted by the Office of State Attorney Joe Licandro of the 4th Judicial Circuit and if convicted, Rodeffer faces up to 60 years in prison.
Source: Florida Department of Financial Services