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Press Release

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Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team Cracks Down on Insurance Fraud After Hurricane Irma

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – CFO Jimmy Patronis and the Department of Financial Services’ Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) announced the recent arrest of Claude Milhomme after he was caught lying to his insurance company in an attempt to file a false insurance claim on his vehicle for damage allegedly caused by Hurricane Irma. 
“Hurricanes bring out the absolute best in our volunteers, donation organizers and first responders, but they also bring out the absolute worst in others and that’s when we see the post-storm fraud,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis. “If you plan to engage in fraudulent activity, no matter how big or how little, we are going to take action.”
Milhomme filed a claim September 12, 2017 to his insurance company stating water damage to his vehicle caused by Hurricane Irma in the amount of $225 for a diagnosis, after hours fee and storage fee. The Department’s Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team received a tip October 9, 2017, suspecting fraudulent activity regarding Milhomme’s claim.
As a result, state investigators took a closer look into Milhomme’s claim and it was discovered that Milhomme’s vehicle was inspected at an auto repair shop located in Georgia September 7, 2017. The inspection and diagnostic tests revealed that Milhomme's vehicle was mechanically inoperable due to overheating which resulted in a blown head gasket prior to Hurricane Irma’s landfall September 10, 2017. 
Milhomme was arrested November 2, 2017 without incident at the Palm Beach County Jail on one count of fraudulent insurance claim by falsely stating a material misrepresentation of facts.
This case will be prosecuted by the Palm Beach County Office of the State Attorney, 15th Judicial Circuit.
The Department’s anti-fraud strike team consists of three teams that are working in areas heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma including South Florida, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties; Southwest Florida, including Lee and Collier counties; and Central Florida, including Polk and Orange counties. They are trained insurance fraud investigators with specialized knowledge of property & casualty fraud and workers’ compensation fraud and to ensure that law-breakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of Florida law, CFO Patronis is working directly with dedicated prosecutors housed within each of the respective State Attorney’s Offices.
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