At the end of last week, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis provided an update on the progress of new property insurance fraud squads deployed along the I-4 corridor.
In December 2021, Patronis announced the deployment of two new insurance fraud fighting squads consisting of 12 sworn law enforcement personnel dedicated to combating property insurance fraud in Florida. While based in Central Florida, these squads have the authority to investigate significant cases throughout the state.
“Last year, I was proud to work with the Florida Legislature to create two new property insurance fraud squads to solely focus on combating the property insurance fraud epidemic in our state. I’m excited to report that in just 12 months, these two fraud fighting units have opened nearly 200 cases, resulting in nearly $300,000 in court ordered restitution. The addition of these two new fraud squads has led to a 148 percent increase in fraud cases, a 55 percent increase in arrests, and 129 percent increase in successful property fraud prosecutions statewide. That’s tremendous progress in just one year to protect insurance consumers from fraud and help combat rate increases statewide,” Patronis said on Friday.
“At my direction, these new fraud fighting squads have also focused on major cases involving organized schemes to defraud that have resulted in four RICO prosecutions statewide. This is a major win in the battle against bad actors working together to deliberately game the system to line their own pockets. Thank you to the Florida Legislature and my fraud teams statewide for their hard work to combat fraud and protect Florida insurance consumers,” he added.
In addition to the increase in enforcement activity, these two dedicated homeowners insurance fraud squads have proactively responded to areas throughout the state where unlicensed contractors solicited homeowners, as well as locations that were impacted by natural disasters throughout the state. At these locations, detectives made contact with contractors, adjusters, homeowners and local authorities in an effort to educate and provide contact information in case fraud is detected. Although these activities do not always result in opened cases, they play an important role in discouraging insurance fraud and helping to educate the public.
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