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Four Arrested in $230,000 Staged Accident Scheme in Tampa, Florida

abundance-bank-banking-banknotes-259027-300x200Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of four men in connection to an insurance fraud scheme that allegedly cost an auto insurer $230,000.

Aymen Salti, Faiz Salti, Mohammed Salti, and Ayiha Salti were all charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. They were arrested and booked into Hillsborough County Jail on February 12. Each individual was ordered held on $1.2 million bond. The press did not name an attorney for any of the four.

According to Patronis’ press release, an investigation by the Bureau of Insurance Fraud conducted together with the Largo Police Department revealed that the four men staged several car accidents at multiple Florida gas stations between June 2016 and April 2019. Through the fake accidents, they were able to obtain approximately $230,000 in fraudulent insurance claims.

Investigators learned that the items the four suspects had reported as damaged were never really damaged. They allegedly submitted fake invoices to the insurance company detailing these purported damages.

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.”

If convicted, the four suspects each face up to 30 years in prison, the CFO’s press release noted.

This is the second fraud-related arrest announced by Patronis this month. Earlier in February, his office announced the arrest of Santos Y. Cardona for allegedly evading paying approximately $200,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Cardona was charged with workers’ compensation fraud and scheme to defraud. He was booked into Lee County Jail on February 5 and was ordered held on an unspecified bond. Attorney information wasn’t available at the time of writing.

According to Paronis’ press statement, records the Bureau of Insurance Fraud obtained from a check cashing store in Fort Myers showed that Cardona’s business, YYCS Enterprises, lied about its payroll information in order to avoid paying high workers’ comp premiums.

Workers for YYCS Enterprises purportedly cashed over $1 million in payroll checks, but the company reported a payroll of only $59,000. The Bureau of Insurance Fraud believes the company avoided paying $199,515 in insurance premiums.

Florida law requires all private employers to obtain workers’ compensation insurance if their business hires more than four workers. The construction industry is the only exception—the state requires construction contractors to obtain coverage for every employee, even if they’re hiring less than four people.

The Department of Financial Services announced a plan to wage war against fraud in the community. As a result, hundreds of individuals are now arrested on fraud allegations in Florida every year. Anyone arrested for fraud should immediately consult with an attorney to discuss their rights and the best course of action.

South Florida Fraud Attorney

Accused of committing fraud? Contact Brian Silber, P.A. for a free initial consultation with one of South Florida’s most experienced fraud defense attorneys.

Source: 2.20.20 CFO Jimmy Patronis announces four arrested in $230k tampa insurance fraud scheme.pdf