Fla. Arrests Scammers Posing as Roofing Experts
If someone knocks and offers “a free home inspection to check for recent damage,” it may be a scam. Fla.’s CFO arrested two people using undercover fraud detectives.
MIAMI – A pair of South Florida scammers inspecting roofs and putting in insurance claims was arrested this week since neither one was a public adjuster as they claimed to homeowners.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Carmen Rosa Contreras and Alexandra Isabel Cano for allegedly acting as public adjusters without a license and filing false insurance claims.
To conduct the investigation, the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS) partnered with Citizens Property Insurance. They used a house located in Broward County and undercover fraud detectives posed as the homeowners.
In September 2019, DIFS fraud detectives initiated the covert operation with help from Citizens Property Insurance, the state-owned “insurer of last resort,” after it received allegations that Contreras was acting as a public adjuster without a license, and allegedly creating or enhancing damages to homeowner properties.
The following month, Contreras then met with an undercover detective to provide a free home inspection. Based on the inspection, she pointed out nonexistent damage throughout the house. Two insurance claims were filed against Citizens Property Insurance for the alleged damages noted.
On the day of the inspection, Contreras sent her associate, Alexandra Cano, who was then identified as a second subject and acting as a public adjuster as well. Cano arrived at the home before the inspection and instructed the undercover detective (fake homeowners) not to say anything to the Citizens Insurance adjuster. Cano identified alleged property damage to use for the insurance claim and Citizens inspection. Additionally, a second undercover detective posing as the homeowners’ spouse spoke to Cano prior to a three-way call with Citizens Insurance and had been coached prior on what to disclose and not disclose to Citizens Insurance regarding the alleged damages.
Due to Contreras and Cano’s actions, Citizens received fraudulent insurance claims totaling $65,420.
Contreras and Cano surrendered to DIFS fraud detectives and were booked into the Broward County Jail. Each face charges of acting as public adjusters without a license and false and fraudulent insurance claims. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison.
“Let these arrests be a lesson to anyone who thinks they can prey on Florida families and get away with it,” says Patronis. “For far too long, fraudsters have been trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the citizens and businesses of Miami, and, as CFO, I am committed to holding these criminals accountable.”
© 2021 Florida Realtors®