In one other case involving the infamous Strems Legislation Agency, a Florida man has been charged with working as an unlicensed claims adjuster and promising owners free roofs and kitchens to be paid for by an insurance coverage service, state authorities mentioned.
Jairo Adolfo Rivera, 33, was arrested Tuesday, charged with six counts of impersonating a public adjuster, a felony. He was booked into the Miami-Dade County jail, though his alleged actions came about in Immokalee two years in the past, in accordance with Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.
Patronis mentioned the arrest was the results of an investigation by his Division of Monetary Companies’ investigative unit. It discovered that in April and Could of 2020, Rivera, working for Adjusting Consultants Inc., solicited Habitat for Humanity owners and satisfied them to signal assignment-of-benefits agreements.
Altogether, 32 claims had been filed on 18 Safety First Insurance coverage insurance policies in Collier County, all claiming harm from Hurricane Irma, the DFS mentioned in a information launch.
“The sort of fraud is particularly heinous when used towards Habitat for Humanity residence recipients who simply wish to present a very good residence for his or her household to dwell a greater life,” Patronis mentioned.
Rivera additionally talked most of the owners into signing contingency charge agreements for the Strems Legislation Agency in Coral Gables, however the man didn’t clarify that the agreements licensed the agency to file swimsuit over the claims, DFS mentioned.
The Strems title is notorious in Florida property insurance coverage neighborhood. Scot Strems was suspended from practice by the Florida Bar and a choose in 2020, after the agency reportedly violated ethics guidelines and courtroom orders and for submitting 1000’s of pointless lawsuits, lots of them on the identical insurance coverage declare.
DFS investigators additionally mentioned in courtroom paperwork that Strems labored intently with adjusting corporations which will have utilized unlicensed adjusters. The legislation agency is now closed and calls to the workplace quantity didn’t undergo on Wednesday.
Rivera and the president of Adjusting Consultants, Ramon Batista, of Miami, additionally couldn’t be reached for remark.
If convicted on all prices, Rivera might resist 5 years in jail, the DFS mentioned. It’s unlikely that Rivera might face stiffer penalties supplied by an anti-fraud invoice handed by the Florida Legislature final month. House Bill 749, which Patronis advocated for, would double monetary penalties for unlicensed adjusters who violate the legislation throughout states of emergency, elevating the fines to a most of $20,000.
The invoice handed each chambers unanimously however it has but to be signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. A spokesman for DeSantis mentioned Wednesday that the invoice had not but been despatched to the governor, greater than six weeks after it was accredited by the Senate. As soon as formally offered to the governor, he has two weeks to signal it, veto it, or enable it to change into legislation with out his signature.
The arrest of Rivera marks the second time this spring that DFS has taken motion towards a claims adjuster. In March, the company filed an administrative complaint towards Scott David Thomas, an all-lines adjuster in Miami, charging that he repeatedly stonewalled insurance coverage firms’ adjusters and appraisers.
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