Fla. Officials Arrest Mother and Son Title Insurance Agents

September 26, 2006

Two title insurance agents who allegedly tried to hide more than $1.2 million in financial transactions in order to fund personal purchases of homes, property and a boat were arrested last week in Lehigh Acres, Fla., according to officials.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher also announced the simultaneous filing of multi-count administrative complaints to revoke the licenses of the agency and the two agents.

Patricia Ann Regas, 72, and her son Micki James Regas, 45, owners and operators of Tradewinds Title Inc., in Lehigh Acres, are charged with scheme to defraud and grand theft; they face up to 30 years in prison on each charge. Gallagher has directed Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) attorneys to move to revoke their licenses.

“Insurance fraud drives up premiums for everyone and will not be tolerated,” Gallagher said.

The scheme to defraud charge is based on allegations that the agents used their agency trust account to help them hide assets from a title insurance company which had obtained a civil judgment against Micki Regas. The grand theft charge alleges that the two also used the agency’s multi-million dollar monthly cash flow of trust funds to hide numerous personal financial transactions.

The arrests and administrative complaints were the result of a joint effort by the department’s Bureau of Investigation, Division of Insurance Fraud and Division of Legal Services as well as the Lee County State Attorney’s Office, Economic Crimes Unit. More charges are anticipated as the criminal investigation continues.

Source: www.fldfs.com

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