TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 1 -- The Florida Department of Financial Services issued the following news release:
Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Miami public adjuster Roberto Alvarez, 44, for allegedly submitting more than $270,000 in fraudulent homeowners insurance claims. Also arrested were four homeowners whom Alvarez recruited to participate in the scheme to defraud. "Floridians are already facing high property insurance costs without fraud pushing rates even higher," CFO Atwater said. "We will catch those who break the law and steal from their fellow Floridians. We are committed to safeguarding your hard-earned dollars." An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Alvarez instructed several homeowners to inflate losses in burglary claims in order to increase his commissions. Alvarez fraudulently submitted hundreds of the same receipts on behalf of multiple clients including some items purchased by Alvarez himself. Manual Nuez, Marilin Del Rosario, Jaime Sanchez and Silvia Londono also were arrested in conjunction with this fraud scheme and face charges of grand theft and insurance fraud. Alvarez was booked into the Orange County Jail with bond withheld. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and the homeowners, if convicted on the charges, could face up to 10 years each. Citizen's Property Insurance Corporation originally notified the department of the suspected scheme to defraud and assisted in the investigation. Additional arrests are expected. Anyone with information of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $275,000 to more than 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program. The program rewards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.
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