A Coral Springs woman was detained Wednesday after state investigators accused her of running a huge automotive insurance fraud scam while working as a claims adjuster, local10.com reported.
Angela Marie Augustine made 1,255 false payments to at least 326 co-conspirators in the $11.6 million scheme, according to the office of state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, whose Bureau of Insurance Fraud investigated the case.
Authorities claimed in a news statement Thursday that between December 2018 and October 2022, Augustine, 41, “re-opened numerous previously closed or settled claims.”
They claimed that Augustine “fabricated claims on auto insurance policies creating fictitious claimants and documented fictitious scenarios, along with fake documentation, including photos and repair estimates where alleged fictitious claimants suffered damages to either vehicle or other property, to issue liability claim payments.”
She would then “adjust reserves to support the false documentation and make claims payments in the amount corresponding to the falsified documentation.” “The co-conspirators would cash the fraudulent insurance proceeds at a local check-cashing store in order to further the alleged fraud,” authorities stated.
Following their probe, investigators arrested Augustine on charges including scheme to defraud, grand theft and criminal use of personal information.
“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. It runs up insurance rates for every motorist on Florida’s roadways. It’s especially disturbing when committed by a claims adjuster entrusted with sensitive financial information,” Patronis said in a news release Thursday. “I’m thankful to my fraud detectives and the Broward County State Attorney’s Office for their hard work on this case and for ensuring this scam artist is brought to justice.”
He added: “We will not stand by and let bad actors use your insurance policy as their personal meal ticket. They will be caught, and they will be thrown in jail.”
Officials expect to make additional arrests.
According to officials, Augustine faces up to 55 years in prison. As of Thursday afternoon, she was no longer included in Broward County jail records.