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22 arrested for alleged flood and arson insurance fraud scheme

Twenty-two people were recently arrested after a large-scale investigation throughout Miami-Dade County. These individuals are accused of being involved with an insurance fraud scheme in which a public adjuster would meet with Florida homeowners about how to purposefully flood or set fire to their homes in order to get insurance money. These persons face allegations of arson, fraud and other crimes.

The investigation started when the police allegedly received a tip from an individual who was involved in the scheme. This person reportedly gave the authorities information about the scheme in exchange for a reduced sentence. The individual claimed that the public adjuster was the ring leader in the scheme, and he would operate by using “finders” to target homeowners who were willing to flood or set fire to their homes and then file an insurance claim. He would purportedly get a percentage of the claim.

The alleged ringleader was arrested and formally charged with arson, forgery, grand theft and racketeering. The specific charges against the other 21 individuals were not publicly released at this time. The investigating officers suspect that the 22 persons collectively bilked an estimated $7.6 million from unspecified insurance companies. The scheme allegedly caused 17 home fires and floods since 2006.

In investigations such as this one, where multiple people are arrested for being part of an alleged scheme, it can be difficult for the investigators to determine the person who is truly responsible. Even though 22 Florida residents were arrested, it could become difficult to prove all the charges against each individual if all of their cases go to trial. However, it would be in each person’s best interest to carefully prepare their criminal defenses against the arson and flood scheme allegations in order to make the decisions that they feel best benefits them individually.

Source: Miami Herald, Insurance fraud operation across South Florida nets 22 arrests, Carli Teproff, Feb. 4, 2014