Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis’ office charged Denise Williams with three counts of insurance fraud greater than $100,000, all first-degree felonies. In May, CFO Patronis directed his Division of Investigative and Forensic Services to investigate life insurance fraud relating to Mike Williams’ disappearance nearly two decades ago. [Read more…] about CFO Jimmy Patronis: Insurance Fraud Charges Filed in Williams Murder Case
In light of the recent arrest of Denise Merrell Williams for her alleged involvement in the murder of Mike Williams following an investigation by state and local law enforcement partners, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis today announced he has directed his Division of Investigative and Forensic Services to investigate alleged life insurance fraud relating to Mike Williams’ disappearance nearly two decades ago.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said: “As a result of the recent findings surrounding Mike Williams’ death, I have directed my office to investigate whether or not his death was part of a scheme to fraudulently profit from his life insurance policies. As this case remains ongoing, we ask members of the community to come forward with any information they may have surrounding this case.”
Members of the community who believe they have information surrounding potential life insurance fraud as it relates to this case are encouraged to contact the CFO’s Fraud Tip Hotline by calling 1-800-378-0445. Callers can choose to remain anonymous and those who provide information that leads to a successful prosecution may be eligible for a cash reward.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement today arrested Jonathan Lance Hobby, a former police officer with the Dade City Police Department, on several charges related to insurance fraud.
In addition to Hobby, agents arrested Bruce Dewayne Wilson Jr. and Carl “Chuck” Roach Jr.
All three were charged with conspiracy to deal in stolen property and operating a chop shop. Hobby and Wilson were also charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. Hobby alone faces two additional charges: insurance fraud and filing a false police report.
During an investigation, detectives with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and FDLE agents found that in May 2017, Hobby claimed his 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 truck was stolen from Rancho Bonito in Lakeland. He contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and filed a report.
Hobby then contacted his insurance company and filed an auto theft claim, which was paid in the amount of $24,712.72. In October 2017, the truck was located at After Hours Diesel Service, a business run by Bruce Dewayne Wilson. Agents discovered that Wilson and Hobby had an arrangement to falsely report the truck as stolen and to sell most of the parts. It was later determined Carl “Chuck” Roach Jr. had knowledge of the fraud and participated in dismantling the truck.
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute.
All three suspects were taken to the Pasco County Jail. Bond was set for Hobby at $50,000. Wilson’s bond was set at $15,000 and Roach’s bond is $10,000.
Bill strengthens dedicated prosecutor program statewide to address insurance fraud
Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), in partnership with Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Representative Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo), announced the filing of Senate Bill 1012, investigative and forensic services, to tackle the growing issue of insurance fraud in Florida. Every year insurance fraud adds to the cost paid by consumers for everything from automobile insurance to homeowners’ insurance. The legislation will require cooperation between the insurance industry and the state to investigate and prosecute fraud.
“Insurance fraud in Florida is evolving, and policyholders are forced to pay for it through higher premiums every year,” stated Senator Brandes. “This is a hidden tax on every Floridian who drives a car, owns a home, rents an apartment, or pays for health insurance. If left unchecked, the cost of fraud will grow and consumers will continue to pay the price. I am committed to making insurance affordable for Floridians, and I am proud to work with Jeff Atwater to address this critically important issue.”
“We must do everything possible to help hold the line on rising insurance rates—rates that are particularly high in South Florida,” said Representative Holly Raschein. “I’m proud to sponsor this common sense solution that will better align the resources that we already have in place, and allow law enforcement to use them strategically in the fight to curb the fraud that drives up rates in our state.”
“We’ve made significant strides in our fight against insurance fraud, and we couldn’t have done so without the steadfast partnership of the fraud-fighting units housed within many of our state’s insurance companies and the dedicated prosecutors who take our cases to trial,” said CFO Jeff Atwater. “With this bill we hope to further improve our processes and hone our techniques so that we can continue to stay a step ahead of the criminals who seek to defraud Floridians. I am thankful to Senator Brandes and Representative Raschein for their leadership on this important issue.”
Fraud can account for as high as 10 percent of the property and casualty insurance industry’s loss expenses every year. This proposed legislation seeks to strengthen the state’s efforts to fight insurance fraud. The bill requires the development of anti-fraud plans by insurance companies and be submitted to the Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. The bill further requires anti-fraud training for personnel within insurance companies designated to oversee the company’s fraud prevention efforts. The bill requires reporting of anti-fraud statistics to the division annually, so that the division can better track the changing trends of fraud statewide. Finally, the bill strengthens a program to assign dedicated prosecutors to different regions of the state to tackle insurance fraud. The Chief Financial Officer of Florida, based on the annual fraud statistics submitted to the division, may assign and re-assign the dedicated prosecutors as needed to address the changing trends of insurance fraud.
For more information on SB 1012 please visit http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/1012.