Additional arrests are expected after a 41-year-old south Florida claims adjuster was charged this week in an elaborate scheme that allegedly rang up more than $11 million in fraudulent insurance payments to hundreds of co-conspirators.
Florida’s Department of Financial Services said its investigation found that from December 2018 to October 2022, Angela Augustine, of Coral Springs, re-opened numerous auto insurance claims that had been closed or settled. She then was able to issue some 1,255 checks to 326 confederates, apparently defrauding auto insurers of millions of dollars, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said in a statement Thursday.
“I’m thankful to my fraud detectives and the Broward County State Attorney’s Office for their hard work on this case and for ensuring this scam artist is brought to justice,” Patronis said.
DFS did not say which carriers were hit by the fraud. The DFS adjuster license page shows that Augustine held a valid license and was appointed as an all-lines adjuster for three firms in recent years.
Augustine could not be reached for comment Thursday at the phone number listed on the license site.
DFS did not explain how the scheme was uncovered. But the agency said the adjuster and conspirators went to considerable lengths: Augustine allegedly fabricated claims, created fictitious claimants and generated false documentation, photographs and repair estimates.
“Augustine would then allegedly adjust reserves to support the false documentation and make payments on the claim in the amount matching the falsified documentation,” Patronis’ office said. “In furtherance of the alleged fraud, the co-conspirators would cash the fraudulent insurance proceeds at a local check-cashing store.”
The woman was booked into the Broward County Jail on Wednesday but had apparently bonded out within a day. If convicted of the charges, she could face years in prison, DFS said.
The arrest came less than a week after two other licensed adjusters were charged with defrauding an elderly Miami homeowner and attempting to scam $57,000 from Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
This article has been updated.
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