A man who led a criminal organization that engaged in home insurance fraud has been sentenced to 20 years in state prison and was ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution.
Jorge Espinosa Sr., the ringleader of public adjuster company Nationwide Adjusters LLC, defrauded insurance companies out of more than $14 million by filing an estimated over 50 false claims.
“He came up with a brilliant fraud scheme,” says our Miami public adjusters attorney at the Korin Law, P.A. “He was setting homes on fire and then filed false claims to defraud insurance companies in Miami and all across Florida.
Insurance fraud that totaled over $14 million
Earlier this year, Jorge Espinosa Sr. reportedly plotted to “take care of” a prosecutor in Miami by hiring a hitman. In his sentencing, Espinosa Sr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy, racketeering, organized scheme of fraud and more than two dozen counts of arson. On top of that, he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of insurance fraud and even grand theft.
The sentence could have been much worse if Espinosa Sr. did not struck a plea deal with the prosecutor. Interestingly, the ringleader of the organization that defrauded many insurance companies in Florida out of millions of dollars did not face additional charges in connection with his alleged plot to hire a hitman.
Espinosa’s insurance fraud organization was exposed four years ago, when the ringleader was arrested in 2014 as part of the “Operation Flames and Flood,” which was carried out jointly by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations and the local police department.
How did he defraud insurance companies?
The state attorney’s office found evidence that Espinosa Sr. and his public adjuster company engaged in a fraud scheme to intentionally set fire to homes in Miami and all across Florida as well as cause water damage to homes in order to submit fraudulent insurance claims.
The investigation showed that Espinosa Sr. recruited homeowners in Miami-Dade, Lee and Collier County to be part of his fraudulent scheme to defraud insurance companies out of millions of dollars.
Over a year after Espinosa’s arrest in 2014, the police department arrested an additional 31 persons with ties to the ringleader’s fraudulent organization. It is estimated that at least 14 insurance companies in Miami and elsewhere in Florida were affected by Espinosa’s insurance fraud, while the financial damage totaled more than $14 million.
How common is insurance fraud in Florida?
But not all cases of homeowners insurance fraud are given this type of publicity. While Espinosa’s fraud scheme is a prominent case of insurance fraud, there are many homeowners and public adjusters that engage in insurance fraud in Miami and all across Florida.
Our Miami public adjusters attorney explains that fraud can be categorized as “insurance fraud” when a homeowner intentionally does damage to his or her home for the purpose of filing a fraudulent claim and obtaining compensation. Also, even if damage was not caused intentionally but the homeowners files an inflated and false claim for more than the actual value of monetary damages, this will be considered homeowners insurance fraud, too.
Do not attempt to engage in insurance fraud no matter how tempting it may be, warn our best public adjusters attorneys in Florida at the Korin Law, P.A. Insurance fraud is a serious crime in Miami and all across Florida, for which you may face many years in prison and will have to pay hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in reinstitution.