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Undercover Investigation Nets Nineteen Arrests In Operation "Brakes On Fakes"

West Palm Beach , FL - Undercover Investigation Nets Nineteen Arrests In Operation "Brakes On Fakes"

Task Force authorities conducted a pre-dawn sweep in a crack-down on auto insurance fraud in Palm Beach County. The undercover investigation, named OPERATION “BRAKES ON FAKES, is the culmination of a six month multi-agency effort to combat insurance fraud. The investigation is the result of a recent Anti-Fraud Task Force whose members include:

  • Constitutional Tax Collector
  • Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
  • State Attorney, 15th Judicial Circuit
  • Delray Beach Police Department
  • Florida Department of Financial Services
  • Florida Highway Patrol
  • Riviera Beach Police Department

As of 9:00 a.m. this morning, authorities had arrested and booked nineteen (19) individuals for charges including False or Fraudulent Motor Vehicle Insurance Card, Sale of Motor Vehicle with Altered Odometer, Title Fraud, Petit Theft and Fraudulent Use of Personal Identification Information ($5,000.00 or more). One of the individuals arrested for False or Fraudulent Motor Vehicle Insurance Card was a juvenile. Attached is the list of the defendants arrested this morning (excluding the juvenile). The names and charges of the remaining fifteen (15) defendants will be released upon their arrest and booking.

The Task Force was formed to combat a growing number of fake auto insurance cards detected by Tax Collector employees in the Delray Beach Service Center. Tax Collector Gannon contacted State Attorney Michael McAuliffe to develop a coordinated response. The level of criminal activity was deemed serious and on the increase. A Multi-Agency Anti-Fraud Task Force was created to investigate and charge those committing the fraud.

State Attorney Michael McAuliffe stated: “This alleged scam was perpetrated by those who cut corners while putting others at risk. Using fake insurance cards to register a vehicle or presenting fake information to officers when stopped undercuts the process we depend on to know who should be driving and who should not be on the road.  Our coordinated law enforcement effort is just what was needed to find the alleged fraud and stop it. I applaud the partnership and coordination reflected in this operation.”  

Constitutional Tax Collector Anne Gannon stated: “Law enforcement has delivered excellent fraud detection training to our employees. Our joint goal was to form an effective united front to combat this criminal activity. Forming the Task Force elevated our response and we hope this approach can serve as a model to other counties.”   

The Lt. Tim Frith, Florida Highway Patrol, added that “this collaborated effort on the part of each of these agencies will impact the criminal elements that exist with auto insurance fraud.”

The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud sees the formation of this Task Force as a way to more effectively combat auto insurance fraud.  “Fraud like this continues to drive up auto insurance rates for honest, hard-working Floridians,” said CFO Jeff Atwater, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “This is yet another battle won in the fight against fraud in Florida. My office is proud to be a part of this Anti-Fraud Task Force, and we will continue to work together to keep your hard earned money in your pocket, where it belongs.”

 

Contacts:

Anne M. Gannon        561- 251-1204
Constitutional Tax Collector

Sarah Alsofrom         561-355-7249
PIO, State Attorney Michael F. McAuliffe, Office of the State Attorney

Teri Barbera              561-688-3082           Cell: 561-662-1572
Public Information Officer/Division Manager/Media Relations
Palm Beach Sheriff Office

Lt. Tim Frith               561-357-4126
Florida Highway Patrol, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Alexis Lambert          850-413-2842
PIO, Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud

Release Date: 
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Contact Information: 
Contact: Anne Gannon, Constitutional Tax Collector
  (561) 355-4271
KClarke@pbcgov.org

 

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