A restoration contracting company owner was arrested this month in Florida for allegedly stealing more than $40,000 from consumers who assigned their insurance benefits to him through assignment of benefits (AOB) contracts, according to a statement from Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.
Wyatt Green, owner of Storm Restoration Specialists LLC, and his staff are accused of forging customer signatures on construction documents and insurance claim payment checks that required signatures from both the homeowner and mortgage lender. An AOB gives a third-party authority to file a claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments without the homeowners’ involvement.
Detectives from the Florida Department of Financial Services discovered that Green was hired by four homeowners to perform contracting work. Green’s office would directly receive insurance checks that required three signatures—one from the homeowner, one from the mortgage lender, and one from Storm Restoration Specialists LLC. Allegedly, Green directed his staff to forge homeowners’ signatures on the checks as well as added the mortgage lenders’ endorsement before depositing the checks into his bank account.
The investigations revealed that Green and his employees purchased 58 false bank endorsement stamps from a online manufacturer to aid in this scam.
Employees of Green also admitted to forging customer signatures on construction documents required by counties and municipalities. In some cases, construction work was never completed, and in others the work never even began.
Green was booked into the Duval County Jail on April 12, on charges of organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and forgery. If convicted, Green faces up to 35 years in prison.
“This case is another example of a bad contractor scamming Floridians and pocketing the money without actually making repairs. AOBs were once used to protect Floridians but recently, assigning your benefits over to a contractor has become an abusive practice,” Patronis said. “When they hire a company, consumers should have peace of mind that work is being completed and not have to worry about being left high and dry by a contractor. My detectives work hard every day to find these criminals and stop them from preying on homeowners.”
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