Ga. Commissioner Parks Agency Reportedly Selling Bogus Taxi and Limo Coverage

March 1, 2005

  • March 2, 2005 at 3:02 am
    ex-husband's a Kiwi says:
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    Go home! Defraud people in your own country.

  • March 2, 2005 at 3:39 am
    Mark says:
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    They can’t defraud a TRUE NO FAULT SYSTEM, which the Kiwi’s have. It’s only here where the Attorney’s and Insurance Companies perpetuate a FAKE No Fault option in most states and Agents are afraid to give up commissions to have a true No Fault Pay As You Drive System. So long as the system is allowed to be the way it is there will be fraud NO MATTER WHAT NATIONALITY YOU ARE!

  • March 3, 2005 at 7:48 am
    Joe C. says:
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    I hope they make a example of these
    poor excuse of insurance folks. It makes
    the Industry look bad.

  • May 25, 2005 at 9:55 am
    Godfrey Waterhouse says:
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    I wonder how many of the 3 comment makers, instead of checking things out a bit, accepted the lies and half truths from John Oxendine as “gospel,” as, doubtless, did the wolf pack of tv and newspaper reporters (of the TRUTH?)who COINCIDENTALLY (yea right) just HAPPENED to be at the jail, along with Mr.(wannabe lieutenant governor) Oxendine when my son was brought in in handcuffs and flung into jail for 3 weeks.The there was the “evenhanded” tv report on 11 Alive, with Mr. Sargenson stating that one of the 2 is “on the run!” and his “cohort” Blair Meeks saying that I had left the country to avoid the charges!!! If it wasn’t so tragic,it would be farcial. Think about it. If my son and I had US$3 Million “stached away,” why would I have gone through the rigourous process of New Zealand Immigration and be driving a shuttle bus in The Bay of Islands and leave my son in a high profile, downtown Barnesville office to continue a “fraud” that had already netted us US$3 Million? Much more has, fortunately, come to light and it is obvious that the insurance was NOT bogus or worthless since there IS and always WAS a REAL insurance company underwriting the policies and that company is Contractors Bonding Limited of Auckland, New Zealand (ex husbabnd’s a kiwi commentor please note) and it is CBL that is the real fraud perpetrator. I am attaching below just one piece that I wrote to try to get our side of the story out. There is also an article published by a local newspaper here in New Zealand showing that CBL are now being investigated. In an earlier article, in the same paper, the reporter contacted Mrs. Solofa in American Samoa, as i had also done when all this happened. Mrs.Solofa felt that she, along with my son and i were the victims in the whole affair and it was CBL who are the villains.

    INJUSTICE IN GEORGIA
    by Godfrey Waterhouse
    Email: otherside532 (nospam) yahoo.co.nz (unverified!)
    23 Mar 2005
    The REAL TRUTH about the FALSE accusations against my son Robert Waterhouse and myself by the Georgia Insurance Commissioner that we sold BOGUS insurance
    OXENDINE SHUTS DOWN AGENCY SELLING BOGUS TAXI AND LIMO COVERAGE

    That was the headline on the News Release issued on 1 March 2005, by John Oxendine, Insurance Commissioner for the state of Georgia. The whole release can be read by going to the Georgia Insurance Department website at http://www.gainsurance.org

    The release, among other things, will be dealt with in order
    1)The banner headline states â€Åâ€ŔSELLING BOGUS” the first paragraph states â€Åâ€Ŕallegedly selling.”
    2)Oxendine â€Åâ€ŔBELIEVES’ the Waterhouses collected nearly $3 Million in premiums over the last two and a half years.
    3)Oxendine states â€Åâ€ŔThe fraudulent activities etc. etc.” If it is an ALLEGATION, how can he say that the activities ARE FRAUDULENT? What happened to â€Åâ€Ŕinnocent until proven guilty,” and â€Åâ€Ŕliberty and justice for all?” He also claims that both father and son are natives of New Zealand, yet ANOTHER total untruth.
    4)The fifth paragraph, quoted verbatim here, says â€Åâ€ŔThe policies sold by their brokerages were allegedly from Mark Solofa Insurance Company-a legitimate insurance company in American Samoa (at least he got that right) However, the premiums were never passed over to the insurer and neither agent had a contract to represent Mark Solofa Insurance.”
    OK, let’s deal with the fifth paragraph,#4 above since it is the most important. At least Oxendine admits that Mark Solofa Insurance is a legitimate insurance company. The reasons that neither agency had a direct contract with Mark Solofa Insurance are (a) Main Street Brokers, the company owned by Robert Waterhouse, is only an Independent Insurance AGENCY and NOT a SURPLUS LINES BROKERAGE and, as a result, cannot deal directly with surplus lines insurance (non admitted) companies, which is what Mark Solofa Insurance is/would be. The reason for Phoenix Brokers Inc.100% owned by Godfrey Waterhouse, not having a direct contract with Mark Solofa Insurance is because Mark Solofa Insurance was, SUPPOSEDLY, owned and operated by Contractors Bonding Limited of Auckland, New Zealand. WHO ARE Contractors Bonding Limited you may wonder, and where do they fit into the picture? THEY are mentioned NOWHERE in Oxendine’s News Release. A very good question. Please read on and all, well, a lot at least, will be revealed. Just for the record, Contractors Bonding Limited, whose website can be readily accessed at http://www.contractorsbonding.com is a 30 year old New Zealand Insurance Company which is very well established, financially sound and enjoys (at present at least) a very good business reputation. I will return to this, but now it is time to detail Phoenix brokers Inc.’s history of involvement with Contractors Bonding Limited/Mark Solofa Insurance.

    My first contact with Peter Harris, of Contractors Bonding Limited, was around Sept./Oct 2000. Contractors Bonding Limited (let’s call them â€Åâ€ŔCBL” for short) was interested in writing our â€Åâ€ŔLivery Programme” in Georgia and provided a â€Åâ€ŔProposal for Business” dated Nov. 2000.

    CBL, at that time, met the Georgia Insurance Code criteria for an â€Åâ€Ŕalien insurer,” (a company established in a country other than the USA) We started placing business with CBL in December 2000. We had been dealing with them for about 2 years and then the Georgia Insurance Code was changed and only alien insurers on the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) white (approved) list could write business in GA. I contacted Peter Harris at CBL and told him of the situation. He told me that they were in the process of taking over Mark Solofa Insurance, a P&C insurance company located in American Samoa. I told him about the US$3 Million in capital and surplus required for a â€Åâ€Ŕforeign” insurance company, (one established in a state or territory other than Georgia) and he subsequently assured me that the takeover was complete and that the US$3 Million had been put in place. We then transferred the business, we believed, into Mark Solofa Insurance. Everything, except the insurance company details on the policies, stayed the same. We continued to submit our quarterly surplus lines tax returns to the Insurance Department and genuinely believed that everything was fine.
    When the â€Åâ€ŔGEICS” (Georgia Electronic Insurance Compliance System) came into existence, we experienced difficulties because any company wishing to register had to have an NAIC number and, at that time, Mark Solofa Insurance did not have one. I contacted Peter Harris again and told him the situation. He subsequently faxed a copy of Mark Solofa’s Certificate of Authority from the American Samoan Insurance Department, or equivalent. I am sure that we then sent the certificate to the NAIC, who then issued the number, 11554, which we sent on to â€Åâ€ŔGEICS” and got the company registered. There was one other problem along the way, with an employee of the Insurance Department whose name was, I believe, Chris Brown. He was â€Åâ€Ŕdragging his feet” in confirming that Mark Solofa could write commercial auto insurance on a â€Åâ€Ŕsurplus lines basis” in Georgia. He said that he THOUGHT that it couldn’t be done, but wasn’t sure and couldn’t be bothered to check the Insurance code. Robert and I met with one of my sisters in law, to whom we provided relevant information to prove our point and she agreed to contact the Georgia state governor, Sonny Perdue, whom she knows personally, to enlist his assistance to, in effect, clear the log jam. The governor, or someone in his office, must have contacted the Insurance Department, for a few days later, Mr. Brown called Robert, telling him that â€Åâ€Ŕhis dad had contacted the governor” and that, in fact the problem had been resolved in February (2003) and this was in March, but nobody bothered to tell us. We then continued to use (so we thought) Mark Solofa Insurance for almost another 2 years in the belief, as mentioned earlier, that the company had been taken over and appropriately capitalized by CBL. It is just worth mentioning that I recall phoning Mark Solofa Insurance at the time of â€Åâ€Ŕthe take over” and speaking to a man there, who knew Peter Harris and CBL and the conversation gave me confidence that everything was as it seemed. During conversations with Mrs. Solofa, since all this started, it would appear that I spoke to her son when I made the call. I think it is also worth mentioning at this point, that we have always been up front with the Insurance Department, and, had we been trying to â€Åâ€Ŕscam” people, we would have hardly got the state governor to go to the Insurance Department on our behalf and thereby draw attention to ourselves.
    I would also never try to involve family members in any criminal activities. Another point is that if we WERE out to cheat people, evade the Insurance Department and just â€Åâ€Ŕtake the money and run,” why submit the quarterly surplus lines tax returns which show every transaction? One return that I have here, has about 150 entries, every one showing â€Åâ€ŔMark Solofa Insurance Company Inc., P.O. Box 3419, Pago Pago, AS. 96799. Assuming that we used Mark Solofa for 2 years, there would be 8 quarterly returns in the offices of the Georgia Insurance Department and also assuming an average of 150 transactions per return, the Department would have seem the company details some 1200 times, apart from when we were trying to get the company registered on â€Åâ€ŔGEICS.”

    I also introduced Peter Harris to one John Griffin of Duluth , GA. and also to Rob Schantz of Jacksonville, FL. Messrs Griffin and Schantz were/are very involved in the hot air balloon insurance business, but had lost their insurance carrier, for whatever reason. I spoke well of CBL, based on my experience with them and, as a result of that introduction, CBL, according to THEIR OWN handout, now write some 25% of hot air balloon insurance in America and â€Åâ€Ŕis one of two accepted insurers at the Alberquerque Balloon Festival, the largest Hot Air Balloon Festival in the world, with a US$750m liability limit across all insureds. Just as an example of the opportunities of niche business, this program-with the strict underwriting guidelines that we have put in place, has produced over US$1 Million in gross written premium, and has received claims totaling less than $15,000.00” This is quoted verbatim from their own information pack. In the very same paragraph, under the heading â€Åâ€ŔAviation” it says â€Åâ€ŔCBL insures smaller ticket niche areas of aviation insurance including non owned aircraft liability, airport transportation insurance including Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta, USA., and most other domestic airports in Georgia, USA! On the same page of the handout, under the heading â€Åâ€ŔMotor Insurance” and again I am quoting verbatim,

    it says â€Åâ€ŔCBL underwrites several non standard motor (property and liability) programs in several countries where local regulations allow, including certain states in the USA, Mexico and the SW Pacific, including Airport Transportation Shuttles, Limousines and Taxicabs.” The words highlighted are just for emphasis, they are not highlighted in the CBL material.

    We have ALWAYS dealt directly with CBL and it would be very easy to confirm this from our phone bills, with calls to 011-649-303-4770 and faxes to 011-649-300-5046, our bank records and with Nolan & Co who did/do all the claims adjusting.

    I felt that I was getting the runaround here from CBL and so I decided to do some â€Åâ€Ŕdigging” on the New Zealand Governments Companies Office website, like the Secretary of State website in Georgia.

    Contractors Bonding Limited shows just 1 director, a Mr. Nicolass Jan Carel Francken, Corstorphine House, 23a, Milburn Street, Dunedin and lists the following shareholders:-

    1)678919-WKF ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED , 25 Milburn Street, Corstorphine, Dunedin.
    Directors Mr. Nicolaas Jan Carel Francken, 25 Milburn Street, Corstorphine, Dunedin
    Mrs. Irina Michailovna Francken, 25 Milburn Street, etc etc.
    Number of shares 900
    Shareholder(s) STICHTING INTERTRUST, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    WKF started life as Pacific International Asset Management Limited with same directors but with Mr. Francken as the only shareholder. Name and shareholder changed, date of name change is 13 March 2002, date of shareholder change, unknown

    2)244681-PACIFIC TRUSTEES & NOMINEES LIMITED C/- Anthony Thomas, Level 9, 51, Shortland Street, Auckland This company has 1 directors and 1 shareholder, Anthony Thomas, who just happens to be a/the lawyer for CBL and shares office space with them.

    3)INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE INVESTMENTS NOMINEES LTD., Apia, Samoa (Western) Samoa seems to be very little more than an offshore tax haven and I rapidly came to the conclusion that I was not going to find out anything there about International Alliance.

    Mr. Thomas I know quite well through CBL, but Mr. Francken was a totally unknown entity and so I decided to check HIM out. I finally tracked him down at, yes â€Åâ€ŔCorstorphine(frequented by royalty) House, Dunedin. Mr. Francken really didn’t want to talk to me, but I pushed the point, and with my son in jail on trumped up charges in Georgia, I was cross. Mr. Francken claimed he was a â€Åâ€Ŕnon executive” director, but I drew his attention to the fact that HIS was the only name showing on CBL’s company registration, his â€Åâ€Ŕnon executive” claim did not impress me and that as far as I was concerned, he was in the front line for whatever consequences were coming. His attitude seemed to change a little at that point and we discussed what he could to help. He informed me that he had attended a CBL directors meeting earlier and the topic of my son had come up. I thought afterwards, since he is the only director shown, did he have the meeting on his own and talk to himself, surely not. If it was a directors PLURAL meeting, I wonder who the other is/others are. Mr. Francken is also shown as CHAIRMAN/director on CBL’S annual report. Mr. Francken assured me that there IS a written agreement between Mark Solofa Insurance and CBL and that Mr. Tony Thomas has, supposedly, seen it, but it (the agreement) is still conspicuous by its absence. If the agreement DOES exist, why has it not been produced since it is a vital piece of evidence, which would show a direct connection between Mark Solofa and CBL. I leave readers to form their own conclusions.
    There has been at least ONE positive development in this whole sorry mess, and that is that CBL have now appointed a lawyer in Atlanta, GA., with a view to putting up money to pay claims. I am informed that when/if it happens, the civil charges ( I didn’t even know about them) will be dropped but not the criminal charges. I find this rather confusing. If CBL, which is a legitimate insurance company, accepts responsibility for, agrees to, and does in fact, pay the claims, surely that indicates that THEY are the insurer and if there IS a REAL INSURER accepting liability, how can charges of â€Åâ€Ŕselling bogus insurance” be substantiated?

    I will now deal with some VERY DISTURBING aspects of this tragedy
    1)Press reports say that â€Åâ€ŔRobert Waterhouse was arrested at his house.” This is a TOTAL LIE. He was arrested at the doctor’s office where he was with his wife who had gone for her first ultrasound in respect of her new pregnancy. How despicable and lowdown can THAT be, especially when he operates from prime office space in the centre of Barnesville and goes there Monday- Friday. He was, apparently, arrested by several Upson county deputies, while others sat outside in the car or cars, I forget now. His wife told me, anyone would think he was a murderer. The phrase â€Åâ€ŔLiberty and justice for ALL’ has a very hollow ring to it, certainly in Georgia at least.

    2)What an amazing coincidence that Insurance Commissioner, John Oxendine, currently campaigning for election of Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, plus just about every media outfit around, just HAPPENED to be at the jail when Robert was dragged in, in handcuffs.

    3)Apparently the mayor of Barnesville also got in on the act, being interviewed outside our office in Barnesville and saying something to the effect â€Åâ€ŔWe don’t want crooks in our town, get ‘em out.” Another good example of being innocent before being proved guilty. Remember, your worship, what goes round, comes round.

    4)Now, as far as the â€Åâ€Ŕnearly $3 Million” is concerned and the â€Åâ€Ŕnever passing it over to the insurance company etc.” The plain truth is very simple and VERY UNsensational and is that during the 4 years (2001-2004) that we ALWAYS dealt DIRECTLY with CBL, the following are FACTS and readily verifiable from our bank records, to which Robert would have willingly given the Insurance Department access.

    WRITTEN PREMIUM US$ 4,135,959.66
    ADJUSTING FEES US$ 325,730.05
    CLAIM PAYMENTS US$ 1,385,181.16
    BROKER COMMISSION US$ 1,033,989.92
    NET WRITTEN PREMIUM US$ 1,391,068.54
    I obviously do not know the total paid to CBL, but I am sure it is over US$1,000,000, and as I said, it can easily be verified from our bank records
    Assuming just $1,000,000.00 to CBL and the $1,710,901.21 paid out in claims and adjusting fees, I invite Mr. Oxendine to explain his figure of almost $3 Million missing. I am told, but have not read it yet, that Mr. Oxendine claims to have seized $500,000.00 in New Zealand. Is that New Zealand dollars, or American dollars? If he did, in fact, make that claim, I would LOVE to know where he got the money. He certainly didn’t get it from me and he certainly didn’t get it from CBL. A figure of about US$250,000.00 seized in Georgia also seems to be doing the rounds. Mr. Oxendine froze all our bank accounts in Georgia, but the vast majority of it, in total around $200,000.00,belongs to CBL and was in premium trust accounts, being held for claim payments in accordance with our agreement with CBL made back in 2000.

    I have offered to return to Georgia of my own free will and at my own expense, but I have asked for certain things before doing so since, at the moment, I can do more over here than I ever could from a jail cell in Lamar county, Georgia.

    I have asked for the following:-
    1) I not be arrested as soon as I get off the plane
    2) I have access to all the documents seized by the Insurance Department
    3) Our â€Åâ€Ŕoffice account” be unfrozen so that there is at least a little money so that we can operate
    4) MOST IMPORTANT. Robert be released from jail.

    There are many more items of half truth and total untruth about Robert and myself put out in the media that need to addressed, but to do it here would be like writing a book

    Godfrey Waterhouse
    Additional written today, 19 March 2005. This piece has been sent to numerous people and places,including \”www.atlanta.indymedia.org” where it is readily available. It was also sent to \”www.scoop.co.nz” but they, as yet, have declined to publish it saying it is defamatory.I can obviously be considered biased, but I DO fail to see that anything is defamatory, all I have written is the truth and my statements can be veriified from various sources. SO, come on “scoop” put the other side, the little man’s side, the side that you claim you are interested in hearing.

    No charges against insurance man
    Authorities in the United States say it could be months before they decide whether to lay charges against Opua businessman Geoff Waterhouse who is accused of auto insurance fraud in the state of Georgia.
    Towaliga circuit district attorney Richard Milam told Northern News last week that his office had not laid charges against Mr. Waterhouse and his son Robert, because the investigation into the Waterhouses’ business affairs was still in progress.
    Mr. Milam said the scope of the investigation was growing each day, as new information came to light, and it now involved business dealings in other states and outside the US.
    He said the principals of Auckland insurer Contractors Bonding Ltd were as much investigation subjects as the Waterhouses and authorities in New Zealand had been contacted to assist with the investigation.
    His office would invite Mr. Waterhouse to return to the United States if and when it was ready to go to trial and would seek to extradite him if necessary.
    Mr. Waterhouse said he would return to Georgia voluntarily if the US authorities laid charges.

    Opua man fights on to clear name in insurance case

    An American Samoan insurance brokerage involved in fraud allegations against Opua insurance broker Geoff Waterhouse has denied authorizing Auckland insurer Contractors Bonding Ltd to write insurance policies in its name.
    The owner of Pago Pago-based Mark Solofa Insurance, Cecilia Solofa, told Northern News last week that MSI had never entered into agreements – commercial or otherwise – with CBL or Mr Waterhouse and his son Robert Waterhouse who, US authorities allege, sold â€Åâ€Ŕbogus” commercial auto insurance in Georgia.
    Last month, CBL said in a statement to the media that the owners of MSI had signed an agreement with CBL, which â€Åâ€Ŕauthorized dealing from the date of that agreement”.
    No date or agreement details were given in the statement.
    Mrs Solofa said CBL did try to buy MSI, but she decided not to go through with the sale, because she became â€Åâ€Ŕuncomfortable” about selling the family business to a large corporation.
    Apart from a couple of phone calls to her office, she never had any direct dealings with Mr Waterhouse or his son and she only recently became aware that they had been selling insurance in MSI’s name.
    She said even if MSI had an agreement with CBL, the company was only licensed to broker insurance in American Samoa, and not on the United States mainland.
    A disclaimer on MSI’s web site last week warned clients that insurers claiming to offer insurance cover under MSI’s name outside American Samoa were operating under false pretence.
    Mr Waterhouse told Northern News that CBL’s lawyers were supposed to have provided a copy of the alleged agreement to the Attorney General’s office in Georgia.
    However, his lawyers were yet to see this.
    â€Åâ€ŔI now believe CBL don’t have that proof,” he said.
    Mr Waterhouse said he had made a complaint about CBL to the Serious Fraud Office.
    Although contacted through an answering service for comment, CBL did not respond.
    Mr Waterhouse sold insurance through Phoenix Brokers Inc for two years, believing that CBL had taken over MSI in 2002, after a law change in Georgia prevented CBL (being based outside the US) from underwriting policies in the state.
    He said Peter Harris at CBL told him that CBL had taken over MSI and he had no reason to doubt him.
    â€Åâ€ŔI recall phoning MSI at the time of the â€Åâ€Ŕtake over” and speaking to a man there, who knew Peter Harris and CBL and the conversation gave me confidence that everything was as it seemed.”
    Mr Waterhouse said CBL even faxed him a copy of MSI’s certificate of authority in 2003, so he could register his brokerage in that company’s name.
    Mrs Solofa said CBL could have acquired a copy of the certificate when it was negotiating to buy MSI.
    Mr Waterhouse disputed the allegations that he sold â€Åâ€Ŕbogus” insurance, saying this implied there was no insurance company backing his policies.
    â€Åâ€ŔWe paid out $1.5 million in claims in the last four years. Do you think, if I had $3 million stashed away, I’d be running a shuttle bus around the Bay of Islands Airport?”
    He said the US authorities still hadn’t laid charges against him or his son, Robert, who was released from jail on bail last month.
    â€Åâ€ŔThey’ve got nothing on me, because basically there is nothing.”
    CBL said in its media statement last month that it believed that all claims under policies issued by Phoenix Brokers, in the name of MSI, had been dealt with by an independent and professional claims adjuster and all valid claims had been paid.
    It would not comment further, it said, as it was â€Åâ€Ŕawaiting details of the position” and has offered to stand behind these policies.
    It also said policy holders had not been prejudiced in any way, nor would they be.

  • June 29, 2006 at 3:08 am
    Godfrey Waterhouse says:
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    I hope that the 3 comment posters above read this and are as quick to retract their garbage comments,based on media garbage,and apologise, as they were to make their ignorance based comments. For their information, no CHARGES were ever laid agianst either my son or me, all the UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS were DISMISSED and I am showing below what can best be described as \”Before and AFTER.\”They ar the articles that appeared in the Atlanta Journal in March 2005 and then this week, June 2006. There is also what appeared in another fine, truth/fact reporting Georgia newdpaper in March 2005 and its sequel which appeared a week or so ago. It is my hope that Joe C., Mark and ex-husband\’s a Kiwi CHOKE, or at least get indigestion, from eating their words.

    State busts alleged insurance scam: Taxis grounded
    Peralte C. Paul, Leon Stafford – Staff
    Wednesday, March 2, 2005

    A father-and-son team in Barnesville allegedly ran a taxicab insurance scam that left thousands of cabdrivers across Georgia without coverage because the vehicles were never insured.

    At least 155 livery service companies in Georgia, including 75 in metro Atlanta, are being ordered to stop operations until they have proof of valid insurance, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine said Tuesday.

    Any disruption in taxicab service could have a major impact on metro Atlanta\’s $3.5 billion convention and tourism industry. It also could affect operations at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, one of the nation\’s busiest airports.

    Metro Atlanta draws hundreds of thousands of business travelers and conventioneers, many of whom need transportation to hotels. Conventioneers depend on taxis to get to the Georgia World Congress Center, the nation\’s fourth-largest convention center.

    Oxendine\’s office began sending letters to the affected companies Tuesday and is expected to make that list public today.

    \’\’These are innocent victims; they wrote a check and paid the premiums,\’\’ Oxendine said. \’\’But once we notify them, they will be breaking the law if they continue to operate before they get insurance.\’\’

    Oxendine said it will probably take three or four days to notify all the affected companies.

    Law enforcement officials say the taxi scam, which allegedly ran for more than two years, netted Godfrey Waterhouse and his son, Robert Waterhouse, more than $3 million in premiums. Robert Waterhouse, 36, was arrested Tuesday and charged with 40 counts of theft by deception, 40 counts of insurance fraud and one count of racketeering.

    Godfrey Waterhouse, who was charged with the same 81 counts, is in New Zealand, and state officials are seeking extradition, said Richard Milam, district attorney for the Towaliga Circuit, which includes Barnesville, about 50 miles south of downtown Atlanta.

    The two were licensed to sell insurance in Georgia and operated as Main Street Brokerage and Phoenix Brokers out of a Barnesville storefront. The state is in the process of revoking their licenses.

    The alleged fraud involved only policies written on taxis, limousines and airport shuttles.

    Insurance investigators uncovered the alleged scam in January after a Columbus cab company filed a complaint with Oxendine\’s office.

    \”They were having problems in having some claims handled,\” Oxendine said. \”As it continued, we saw it was much more serious. In January, we found out that they had not written any insurance policies.\”

    The pair allegedly signed up livery companies for policies by saying they were representatives of Mark Solofa Co., an insurer based in Pago Pago, American Samoa. But Solofa executives told officials they had never heard of the Waterhouses and that they sell policies only to vehicles in American Samoa.

    \”They just picked the company\’s name and were using it,\” Milam said. \”They were just issuing policies and collecting money.\”

    During Waterhouse\’s arrest at his Thomaston home, police seized several cars, computer files and bank records, Milam said. Officials identified at least eight different bank accounts in the Waterhouses\’ names and froze those assets. But Oxendine said \”hundreds of thousands\” of dollars more is in accounts in New Zealand.

    Though based in Barnesville, the pair never sold any insurance there, Oxendine said. \”But they were doing business everywhere else in Georgia.\”

    Wayne Culbreth, co-owner of Luxury Atlanta Limousines, based in Tucker, said his company was notified by the commissioner\’s office in December that the insurance it had purchased from the Waterhouses was fake. The company was able to switch insurance for its four limousines and luxury sedans to a legitimate company and keep its fleet on the road, but \’\’we had just renewed our insurance and, within 30 days, we had to switch and pay for it again,\’\’ Culbreth said. \’\’It\’s been three or four months, and we\’re still getting over that.\’\’

    With the threat of hundreds of taxis, limos and shuttles being sidelined for several days, local hoteliers were considering contingency plans.

    Ronen Nissenbaum, general manager of the InterContinental Hotel in Buckhead, said he has several staffers who could drive guests, as well as bellmen who could be called into service. The hotel has several cars it could use to shuttle guests, and MARTA is just blocks away.

    \”For the short term, we do have an immediate Band-Aid for the situation,\” said InterContinental Hotels Group spokeswoman Stephanie Bezner. \”If this were long term we would evaluate our options, but we would definitely take care of our guests.\”

    Culbreth said he hopes his company, and others like it, will be able to recoup some of the money they lost. He said he\’s glad the bogus insurance has been made public, hopefully helping other transport companies avoid disaster.

    \’\’If something happens and you have no insurance, you lose everything you\’ve got,\’\’ he said.

    — The Associated Press contributed to this article.

    155: Number of livery service companies in Georgia being ordered to halt operations until they have proof of valid insurance.

    $3.5 billion: Annual value of convention and tourism industry in metro Atlanta.

    81: Charges against each of the insurance scam suspects.

    $3 million: Premiums allegedly collected.

    FIRMS ASKED TO CALL STATE

    Companies that suspect they may have purchased bogus insurance from Phoenix Brokers Inc. or Main Street Brokers Inc. are encouraged to contact the state insurance commissioner\’s office at 1-800-656-2298.

    \”Pulitzer Prize? Paul\’s\” Latest Production
    Dear Mr. Paul
    I have read your latest piece, which is an improvement on the first 2 although, after reading the first 2, an improvement would not have been difficult.
    You will see, below, some dictionary definitions and a copy of your latest piece for reference. I will deal with your composition paragraph by paragraph, as I did with your earlier \”work of fiction.\”
    Someone, whether it is you or \”The State,\” or both, still seems to have difficulty in differentiating between \”allegations\” and \”charges,\” hence the definitions below. I hope that you and \”The State\” may find them helpful
    I suppose \”charges\” sounds much more dramatic and attention getting from a \”news\” standpoint, and it also sounds better from Oxendine\’s standpoint, for obvious reasons, if he also keeps saying \”charges\” instead of (unfounded) allegations.
    The CORRECT heading for your composition SHOULD have been something like \”State dismisses/drops allegations in taxi insurance ????????\” There were NO CHARGES to DISMISS and there was NO CASE!!!!!!!
    It is interesting that \”of the LARGE volumes of documents SEIZED\’ only \”SEVERAL were exculpatory.\”
    I also liked the way you conveniently left out \”on the advice of his lawyer,\” after saying \”Godfrey Waterhouse, who is now in the United States, declined to be interviewed for this article.\” The final sentence of that paragraph clearly implies thatContractors Bonding assured ME that THEY (Contractors Bonding) were authorized to underwrite policies in the United States. That is NOT TRUE and if you had done your job properly you would have known, or certainly could have found out, that that was not the case. I suggest that you perhaps read up on some sections of the Georgia Insurance Code.
    It is also clear from your final paragraph that Oxendine either DOESN\’T know, or CHOOSES not to know, what he is talking about. The \”roughly $200,000,00 in assets (cash) that were seized\” has been spent by the Receiver on his \”fees,\” and NOT A SINGLE PENNY has been paid on claims or to any livery driver. Contractors Bonding recently sent US$211,000.00 to the USA to pay any and all outstanding claims. GAB Robins have been appointed to adjust all the claims. Think about this for a moment Mr. Paul, if an INSURANCE COMPANY accepts liability for, and PAYS any and all legitimate claims, how can the insurance be \”fake/bogus?\”
    You should also, perhaps, call the Receiver, one Mr. Kennedy in Macon, and ask him how he managed to go through $200,000.00 in 12 months. Not bad going, $4,000.00 per week!!
    Hopefully, one day, you will print the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you someone who knows it and who doesn\’t have a personal agenda for obfuscating it.
    Regards
    Geoff. Waterhouse

    Definition

    allege
    [Show phonetics]
    verb [T]
    (esp. in legal matters) to state that (something bad) is a fact without giving proof
    It was alleged that Johnson had struck Mr. Rahim on the head.

    alleged
    [Show phonetics]
    adjective [not gradable]
    It took years for the alleged criminals to prove their innocence.

    allegedly
    [Show phonetics]
    adverb [not gradable]
    She allegedly murdered her husband.

    allegation
    [Show phonetics]
    noun [C]
    (esp. in legal matters) a statement, made without giving proof, that someone has done something wrong or illegal
    The allegations of corruption were not true.

    (from Cambridge Dictionary of American English)

    al·le·ga·tion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (l-gshn)
    n.
    Something alleged; an assertion: allegations of disloyalty.
    The act of alleging.
    A statement asserting something without proof: The newspaper\’s charges of official wrongdoing were mere allegations.
    Law. An assertion made by a party that must be proved or supported with evidence
    Definition
    allegation
    noun [C] FORMAL
    a statement which has not been proven to be true which says that someone has done something wrong or illegal:
    Several of her patients have made allegations of professional misconduct about/against her.
    [+ that] Allegations that Mr Dwight was receiving money from known criminals have caused a scandal.
    charge
    Oxford Online Dictionary
    • noun 1 a price asked. 2 a formal accusation made against a prisoner brought to trial.

    Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
    6 a : a formal assertion of illegality

    State drops charges in taxi insurance case

    By PÉRALTE C. PAUL
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Published on: 06/27/06
    The charges against a father and son accused of using their Barnesville insurance firms to allegedly sell bogus insurance to taxi and limousine drivers have been dropped.
    John W. Oxendine, Georgia\’s insurance commissioner, said the state had difficulty in proving its case against Godfrey Waterhouse and his son, Robert.
    \”Beyond a reasonable doubt is a very high standard,\” Oxendine said, explaining the charges were dropped last month. \”The attorney general\’s office has expressed concern at this time proving a criminal case.\”
    The Waterhouses, who are British nationals, were licensed to sell insurance in Georgia and operated at Main Street Brokerage and Phoenix Brokers in Barnesville.
    When Robert Waterhouse was arrested in March of last year, the state officials said he and his father sold fake policies written on taxis, limousines and airport shuttles.
    But Godfrey Waterhouse — who, until this month, had been living in New Zealand — has always maintained their innocence, saying they did nothing wrong.
    The state \”seized large volumes of documents at the Waterhouses\’ business,\” said Russ Willard, a spokesman for the Georgia attorney general\’s office. \”Several of those documents have turned out to be exculpatory in nature, and the state cannot proceed, in a good-faith basis, with the prosecutions.\”
    State officials said the Waterhouses told livery companies they were representatives of Mark Solofa Co., an insurer based in Pago Pago, American Samoa. But that company issues policies only on vehicles in American Samoa.
    Godfrey Waterhouse, who is now in the United States, declined to be interviewed for this article and has said his firms sold insurance through Contractors Bonding Limited, which is based in New Zealand. He also has said Contractors Bonding assured him it was authorized to underwrite policies in the United States.
    Georgia officials say Contractors Bonding is the focus of the investigation, and the Waterhouses may have sold the policies not knowing they were fake.
    A representative of the Auckland-based Contractors Bonding, who answered the telephone, said the company had no comment. He declined to give his name.
    \”Contractors Bonding is the current target of the ongoing investigation,\” said Margaret Witten, an attorney for the state\’s Insurance Commission. \”There\’s evidence to suggest that they are the persons who perpetrated the crime.\”
    Both Waterhouses are helping with the state\’s probe, Willard said.
    Although the focus of the investigation has shifted, Oxendine said the Waterhouses\’ licenses to sell insurance in Georgia, revoked last year, remain revoked. And the roughly $200,000 in assets that were seized are in court receivership to be used in claims payouts to livery drivers who carried the fake policies.
    COLUMBUS PAPER\’S Contributions

    Ledger-Enquirer
    Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (GA)

    March 2, 2005
    CAB OWNER AVOIDS INSURANCE SCAM
    COMPANY ALLEGEDLY COLLECTED $3 MILLION IN FRAUDULENT PREMIUMS
    Author: BRYAN BRASHER, Staff Writer
    Edition: LEDGER-ENQUIRER
    Section: LOCAL
    Page: L1

    Estimated printed pages: 3
    Article Text:
    A short time ago, Joe Bowman switched his insurance coverage for Yellow Cab and Checker Cab of Columbus from Main Street Brokerage Inc. to another insurance company in hopes of saving a few dollars.
    Turns out, the move may have helped him save far more than that.
    State Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine announced Tuesday that a cease-and-desist order has been issued against Main Street Brokerage Inc. and Phoenix Brokers Inc. for allegedly selling bogus insurance policies to taxi and limousine companies across the state. Soon after the order was issued, authorities arrested co-owner Robert Waterhouse at his home in Thomaston, Ga. An arrest warrant was issued for his father and co-owner, Godfrey Waterhouse. Both father and son are natives of New Zealand, Oxendine said.
    Oxendine said the two companies, which are located in Barnesville, Ga., allegedly collected nearly $3 million in fraudulent insurance premiums during the past 2 1/2 years. He said bogus policies were purchased by taxi and limo companies in most of the state\’s major cities, including as many as nine companies in Columbus. The list of victims included Yellow Cab and Checker Cab of Columbus, which are both co-owned by Bowman.
    Bowman said he\’s fortunate to have gotten away from the Waterhouse firms when he did.
    \”I shop around for the best rates on a pretty regular basis,\” Bowman said. \”I got away from them a couple of months ago by pure happenstance — just by default.\”
    The policies sold by their brokerages were allegedly from Mark Solofa Insurance Company — a legitimate insurer located in American Samoa. But the premiums were never passed on to the insurer, and neither agent had a contract to represent Mark Solofa Insurance.
    Bowman said his companies escaped the situation with only one unpaid insurance claim — but others weren\’t so fortunate. According to Oxendine, the fraudulent activities placed numerous businesses in financial peril across the state. He said the illegal acts also put many Georgians at risk whenever they rode in a vehicle that was supposedly covered by the firms.
    Oxendine said the full list of Columbus businesses affected by the scam won\’t be known until later this week. He believes at least one of those businesses has filed a major claim that will never be paid by the brokerage firm.
    The money may, however, be recouped through the judicial system.
    \”We\’ve already begun seizing bank accounts and assets from the owners of the firms,\” Oxendine saidHopefully, those who got taken by these people will get some restitution.\”
    Bowman offered condolences to those who were harshly affected by the scam. At the same time, he hoped his companies would not be cast in a bad light by the news.
    He insisted that people are insured when they ride in his cabs.
    \”I don\’t want my customers to think that they\’re riding around in cabs without any insurance,\” Bowman said. \”That is absolutely not the case. We\’re with a totally different insurance company now — and the people who ride with us have nothing to worry about.\”
    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    AVOIDING INSURANCE FRAUD
    Georgia Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine offers these tips for avoiding insurance scams:
    > Make sure you are dealing with a licensed company and agent. Every insurance company and every insurance agent licensed to operate in Georgia is listed at http://www.gainsurance.org. If yours aren\’t listed, find out why.
    > Remember, an agent can use the name of a legitimate company and still not be selling a legitimate policy. Always check your policy for a contact number. Then contact the company directly to verify that your insurance is in good standing.
    > Contact your insurance company on occasion to make sure your bills are being paid.
    > If you have questions, concerns or suspicions about your insurance, contact the Commissioner\’s Consumer Services Division at (800) 656-2298. Phone lines are open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday.
    Copyright (c) 2005 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
    Record Number: 0503020111

    ——————————————————————————–

    Posted on Thu, Jun. 22, 2006

    Father and son cleared of insurance fraud charges
    Pair now assisting attorney general with probe of bogus policies
    BY ALAN RIQUELMY
    Staff Writer

    Two men initially charged with insurance fraud have been cleared of any criminal charges and are assisting the Georgia Attorney General\’s Office, a spokesman for the office said.
    Godfrey Waterhouse and his son, Robert Waterhouse, co-owners of Mainstreet Brokerage Inc. and Phoenix Brokers Inc., were charged with insurance fraud and theft, said Russ Willard, director of communications with the Attorney General\’s Office, on Wednesday. The charges stemmed from the alleged sale of bogus insurance policies to taxi and limousine companies across Georgia.
    Arrest warrants for both father and son were issued March 1, 2005. Robert Waterhouse was arrested that day in Thomaston, Ga., shortly after State Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine announced a cease-and-desist order had been issued against both companies. Robert Waterhouse was released from jail two weeks later and the charges were dropped shortly afterward, Willard said.
    Godfrey Waterhouse was never arrested because he was living in New Zealand, Willard said. The charges against him were dropped a month ago.
    \”(The Attorney General\’s Office) could not prove they knew they were bogus policies, and this is why they dropped the charges against Robert,\” said Glenn Allen, spokesman for Oxendine\’s office.
    \”That\’s a decision they had to make,\” Oxendine said of the attorney general\’s office. \”They have a very high standard.\”
    The legitimacy of the policies is still a point of contention. Contacted Tuesday, Godfrey Waterhouse said the policies were legitimate. \”We paid almost $1.5 million in claims,\” he said.
    Godfrey Waterhouse said the investigation targeted a New Zealand-based company, Contractors Bonding Limited, through which the Waterhouses\’ agencies issued their policies.
    Godfrey Waterhouse claims Contractors Bonding Limited assured him it had bought Mark Solofa Insurance Co. — a company based in American Samoa — which would have made the Waterhouses\’ policies compliant with a law requiring they be backed by a U.S. company.
    Contractors Bonding Limited never purchased Mark Solofa, Godfrey Waterhouse said.
    There is still MUCH more to this story and I hope that the 3 Stooges are around to see it



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