A former licensed insurance agency owner was arrested in Florida after allegedly stealing more than $620,000 in insurance premiums, according to a statement from Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis.
Orestes Valentin Rodriguez, owner of Blue Guard Insurance Group Inc., is accused of pocketing insurance premiums from a property management company representing a Miami homeowner’s association and never paying the association’s insurance.
The charges came as a result of an investigation by CFO Patronis’ fraud detectives and Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services, in partnership with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office Division of Economic Crimes.
In all, Rodriguez allegedly:
- Used a premium finance company to finance over $100,700 to pay for a $110,000 policy, keeping the money and never paying off the policy.
- Collected down payments of more than $9,200 with customers paying $74,600 to the finance company for policies Rodriguez never purchased on their behalf.
- Applied for nearly a million dollars in additional premium financing, allegedly generating 21 fraudulent premium finance contracts, and ultimately obtaining more than $430,000 from this premium financing.
- Stole more than $2,900 in premium money from a home policy and a business liability policy.
In total, Rodriguez allegedly stole more than $620,000 in this fraud scheme. His insurance license has been revoked and he has been permanently barred from the insurance business in Florida, Patronis said.
Rodriguez was arrested March 20 and transported to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Rodriguez faces one count of first degree grand theft, 21 counts of uttering a forged instrument, 12 counts of second degree grand theft, seven counts of third degree grand theft and one count of first degree organized fraud. If convicted, Rodriguez could face up to 25 years in prison
“Florida currently ranks first in fraud and fourth in identity theft nationwide and insurance fraud schemes like these drive up those rates. I launched my new Fraud Free Florida initiative to bring law enforcement agencies together to tackle Florida’s mounting fraud epidemic and bring these scam artists to justice because these alarming statistics are not acceptable. If you commit fraud in Florida, you will be caught and held accountable,” Patronis said.
Source: Florida Department of Financial Services
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