Florida to deploy anti-fraud strike teams in Hurricane Irma aftermath

Natural disasters can bring out the best and the worst in people. (Photo: Shutterstock) On Sept. 29, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Patronis announced the formation of anti-fraud strike teams to protect Floridians from post-storm insurance fraud in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Three separate teams will work in areas all heavily impacted by Irma: South Florida, including Miami-Dade and Monroe counties; Southwest Florida, including Lee and Collier counties; and Central Florida, including Polk and Orange Counties. “The unfortunate truth is that some individuals will attempt to take advantage of consumers during this high-stress time,” CFO Patronis said in a statement from the Florida Department of Financial Services. “To combat fraudsters attempts to swindle Floridians, we’re putting boots on the ground to ward off fraud and swiftly address any scams that may arise.” Related: Combating insurance claims fraud with hybrid analytics CFO Patronis will be working directly with prosecutors housed within each of the State Attorney’s offices “to ensure that law-breakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of Florida law.” These strike teams will be composed of trained insurance fraud investigators from the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, all with specialized knowledge of property and casualty fraud and workers’ compensation fraud. The Department of Financial Services will also deploy investigators to work with affected Floridians by educating homeowners, homeowners’ associations, and local law enforcement about the major warning signs of fraud. Related: FBI widens insurance fraud probe of South Florida attorneys Floridians can report suspicious behavior by calling the Department of Financial Services’ anti-fraud hotline at 1-800-378-0445, or by contacting one of the Department’s regional insurance fraud offices. Callers can remain anonymous and are asked to provide as much information as possible. For the Department’s insurance consumer helpline, call 1-877-693-5236, or visit the website for other information on insurance fraud and consumer protection.

About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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