Oficial Principal de Finanzas Jimmy Patronis Anuncia Cuatro Arrestos por Fraude de Seguros de $230,000 en Tampa
Tampa, Fla. (02/20/20) - Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announces the arrests of Aymen Salti, Faiz Salti, Mohammed Salti, and Ayiha Salti, for racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering for allegedly staging automobile accidents in order to file nearly $230,000 in fraudulent insurance claims.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "Fraud has reached epidemic proportions in Florida and scams like this drive up auto rates for every driver on the road. I'm thankful for the hard work of my fraud detectives in tracking these fraudsters down. We must continue to work together to do everything we can to uncover these fraud schemes and bring these scam artists to justice."
An investigation conducted by CFO Patronis' Bureau of Insurance Fraud in conjunction with the Largo Police Department alleged that between June 2016 and April of 2019, Aymen Salti, Faiz Salti, Mohammed Salti, and Ayiha Salti staged automobile accidents at multiple gas stations to obtain approximately $230,000 in fraudulent insurance claims. Detectives discovered the items the suspects alleged were damaged, were never damaged and fraudulent invoices were submitted to the insurance company.
All suspects were arrested and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on February 13 and charged with Racketeering and Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering. Each individual was held on $1.2 million bond. If convicted, they each face up to 30 years in prison. Individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Read the press release>>
Palm Harbor Man Guilty in Promissory Note Scheme
Tallahassee, Fla. (02/13/20) - The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced that a jury in Pinellas County has found James Harold Hosner guilty of securities fraud, selling unregistered securities, selling securities as an unregistered person, and communications fraud (scheme to defraud) for his role in a promissory note scheme targeting an elderly victim.
OFR Acting Chief of Financial Investigations Alex Toledo said, "Fighting financial fraud is our top priority. Vicious schemes that target our state's elder population must be stopped. I appreciate the diligent work of the Pinellas County State Attorney's Office and OFR's investigators in securing this positive outcome for the people of Florida."
Hosner operated the investment scheme through his company, Phoenix Insurance Services, Inc., based in St. Petersburg. Exploiting his existing relationship as the victim's insurance agent to pitch the phony promissory notes, he issued and sold at least three notes totaling approximately $48,500 to the elderly victim. The securities were purportedly 7% fixed notes due in 2020; however, Hosner assured the victim that the money could be returned at any time upon request. As part of the scheme, he lied about plans to purchase another insurance agency and used portions of the victim's funds to pay insurance premiums and cover payroll.
The OFR's investigation was opened in May 2018 as a result of a referral from the Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Agent & Agency Services. Hosner was arrested on September 29, 2018. His sentencing is scheduled to take place on March 16, 2020.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Announces $200,000
Workers' Comp Premium Fraud Arrest in Fort Myers
Fort Myers, Fla. (02/06/20) - Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest today of Santos Y. Cardona, owner of YYCS Enterprises, Inc., for workers' compensation fraud. Over the course of a year, Cardona allegedly evaded paying nearly $200,000 in workers' compensation insurance premiums. The company allegedly conducted more than $1 million in payroll but originally reported $59,000 in payroll on their worker'' compensation insurance policy.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Honors Florida's Outstanding Firefighters During 2020 Fire Service Awards
Tallahassee, Fla. (02/04/20) -
Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis along with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried recognized members of Florida's fire fighting community for their outstanding accomplishments in the fire service industry during the 2020 Fire Service Awards today at the Florida Capitol. Each individual or facility was nominated and selected by various fire service organizations across Florida.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, "Today, we honored the outstanding members of Florida's incredible fire service community who work around the clock to protect Floridians. Day after day these dedicated men and women run towards danger. But it's not just the firefighters that keep our communities safe. It's the educators, inspectors, investigators, instructors, volunteers, and training centers that ensure we are protected. I cannot thank these fire service professionals enough for their outstanding service to their communities and our great state."
Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis Announced
Consumer Protection Bill
Tallahassee, Fla. (01/28/20) - Today at a press conference, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis, joined by Senator Tom Wright and Representative Chuck Clemons, highlighted proposed legislation (Senate Bill 1492 and House Bill 1137) aimed at protecting Floridians, especially following a disaster.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, "Today, the Consumer Protection Act passed it's first round of committee meetings. With this bill we are sending a message to insurance companies that if you're going to operate in the state of Florida, you must do what's right by your customers. No longer should claims handling issues create delays as storm victims rebuild their homes and lives. I shouldn't have to step in to make sure insurance companies are doing what they should be doing for their customers. Let me be clear: this bill is not a silver bullet; but, it is an important step toward fixing the insurance problems that have plagued Floridians."
"Thank you to our bill sponsors Chair Tom Wright and Chair Chuck Clemons for their support in this vital legislation. I look forward to working with each of them to strengthen enforcement of the law requiring companies to pay claims in 90 days and make certain these laws work for Floridians and not insurance companies. The Consumer Protection Act will help us build a better, stronger Florida."
Consumer Protection Act
- Gives consumers more time to get out of public adjuster contracts in times of disaster.
- Ensures that Floridians have information about their insurance coverage before hurricane season starts.
- Requires all insurance companies to settle claims in 90 days.
- Provides fraud protections by cracking down on unlicensed insurance agents and stopping companies from using the term Medicare in there name.
- Requires insurance companies to communicate with consumers more effectively when they send a partial payment or initial estimate.
- Rids fees on Floridians who are trying to take charge of their credit and protects Floridians from being taxed when their insurance company goes under.
For more information on the bills please visit: SB 1492 y HB 1137.
CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Scams This
Tallahassee, Fla. (01/20/20) - As the 2020 tax season approaches, Florida Chief Financial Officer iCFO) Jimmy Patronis warns of an increased threat of fraud and scams for individuals and small businesses when filing taxes. Recent reports show that tax season brings a wave of dangerous tax scams and consumers must be aware of the Internal Revenue Services' (IRS) 'Dirty Dozen' list of tax scams to avoid.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "The 2020 tax season is here and individuals and business owners must be on the lookout for tax scams. In 2019, imposter scams we're the second most reported fraud category in Florida. It's important to stay on guard, especially during tax season, to protect yourself and your business. Stay informed of the warning signs of scams and always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
5 Tips to Avoid Tax Scams
1. File Your Tax Return Early. This decreases the amount of time a scam artist has to steal your identity and file a return in your or your businesses name.
2. Beware of Impersonations. Scams take many shapes and forms, such as phone calls, letters and emails. Many IRS impersonators use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a fabricated tax bill.
They may even threaten to arrest their would-be victim if the victim
3. Be Cautious of Suspicious Phone Calls or Emails. The IRS will never call to demand an immediate payment be made using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
4. Watch Out for Bogus Charities. Scam artists impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Bogus websites use names similar to legitimate charities to trick people to send money or provide personal financial information.
5. File a Report With the IRS and Police. If you become a victim, file a Form 14039 with the IRS and also file an identity theft report with your local police department.