Insurance

Florida insurance agency owner arrested on fraud charges

A Pensacola insurance agent has been charged with wire fraud for his alleged scheme of taking his customers’ insurance premiums for himself.

John Michael Thomas, 51, appeared in a federal court hearing presided by Acting US Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Jason R. Coody. A federal criminal complaint filed March 12, 2021, charged Thomas with selling fraudulent insurance policies for about $4 million in insurance premium payments through his agency, Thomas Insurance, LLC.

According to the complaint, Thomas allegedly defrauded customers from September 2013 to December 2020 through a type of insurance fraud called “premium diversion.” Thomas collected insurance premiums from customers, but kept the funds for his personal use instead of producing insurance policies, the lawsuit said. To conceal his ruse, Thomas allegedly gave his customers fraudulent documents referencing insurance policies that did not exist.

Thomas was eventually arrested on April 01, 2021. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the FBI and the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, Bureau of Insurance Fraud.

A release from the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida noted that investigation work is ongoing to ensure that all of Thomas’s alleged victims are identified. The office has advised anyone who believes they have been victimized by Thomas to contact the local FBI office.

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