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CFO Jimmy Patronis: Hurricane Irma Insurance Scammer Arrested for Stealing $14,000 from Homeowners

1/15/2019

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Contact: Devin Galetta, 850.413.2842, devin.galetta@myfloridacfo.com

CFO Jimmy Patronis: Hurricane Irma Insurance Scammer Arrested for Stealing $14,000 from Homeowners

ORANGE CITY, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis today announced the arrest of Mary Bruce for unlicensed public adjusting and filing false and fraudulent liens on individuals' homes following Hurricane Irma. In total, Bruce stole $14,000 from homeowners.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “After a hurricane, Florida families are incredibly vulnerable and my fraud teams ensure that scammers who take advantage are found and thrown in jail. If you need repairs to your home and an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Report these incidents so we can get these criminals off the streets and deter others from committing these crimes.” 
 
Following Hurricane Irma in September 2017, CFO Patronis’ investigators discovered that Bruce approached roofing companies and homeowners in Central Florida and falsely identified herself as a “claims manager.” Bruce told homeowners she could increase prior hurricane insurance claim settlements up to $30,000, but would require homeowners to sign a Power of Attorney document in order to do so.
 
Once signed, Bruce would submit an adjusted claim to the insurance company, doubling the original cost estimates submitted previously. If the insurance company refused to pay the increased adjusted amount, Bruce would then place a lien on the homeowner’s property.
 
Bruce was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Jail on charges of unlicensed public adjuster and filing of false and fraudulent lien. If convicted, Bruce faces up to 10 years in prison.
 
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About CFO Jimmy Patronis

Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).