Thursday, September 30, 2010
Five former claims adjusters were arrested today for their roles in several auto insurance fraud schemes
By JESSICA SICK and HANK TESTER
Five former insurance company claims adjusters were arrested today for their roles in several auto insurance fraud schemes.
The arrests come after last year's investigation by the Hialeah Police Auto Theft Unit, Miami-Dade Auto Theft Task Force and National Insurance Crime Bureau that led to the arrest of 26 people involved in the insurance schemes in which vehicle owners conspired with auto shops to bilk insurance companies out of $5 million.
According to authorities, in order to avoid payments on financed vehicles, the vehicle owner stages a crash and takes the vehicle to a repair shop, where the shop causes further damage to the vehicle, namely tampering with the airbag so that it appears it deployed during the crash, which ups the claim amount.
Today in a joint press conference addressing "Operation Crash and Bash for Cash," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton, and representatives from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Allstate and State Farm announced the arrests of Allstate employees Roman Hernandez, Eduardo Quinonez, and Roy Stella, and State Farm employees Jeremazine Kirland and Julio Ravelo.
All five suspects were charged with various counts of grand theft of the third degree and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, not Suave).
Rundle said this case is the first she can remember in which employees for the insurance companies were involved in the insurance scam.
"They betrayed their employers, they betrayed their colleagues and the betrayed the consumers of South Floriday," she said. "Ultimately, all of us."
"Florida is ground zero for this activity," said Overton during the press conference, "and we won't tolerate
Posted by Steve Douglass at 10:00 PM