An unlicensed insurance adjuster has been arrested over unlicensed public adjusting activities and the filing of false and fraudulent liens on individuals’ homes following Hurricane Irma, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis reported Mary Bruce is accused of stealing $14,000 in total from homeowners.
Following Hurricane Irma in September 2017, DFS investigators discovered that Bruce approached roofing companies and homeowners in Central Florida and falsely identified herself as a “claims manager.”
Bruce is alleged to have told homeowners she could increase prior hurricane insurance claim settlements up to $30,000, but would require homeowners to sign a Power of Attorney document in order to do so.
Once signed, Bruce submitted an adjusted claim to the insurance company, doubling the original cost estimates submitted previously. If the insurance company refused to pay the increased adjusted amount, Bruce would then place a lien on the homeowner’s property.
Bruce was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail on charges of unlicensed public adjuster and filing of false and fraudulent lien. If convicted, Bruce faces up to 10 years in prison.
“After a hurricane, Florida families are incredibly vulnerable and my fraud teams ensure that scammers who take advantage are found and thrown in jail,” Patronis said. “If you need repairs to your home and an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Report these incidents so we can get these criminals off the streets and deter others from committing these crimes.”
Source: Florida Department of Financial Services
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