The Florida Department of Financial Services ("the FDFS") regulates the activities of insurance agents. From Fall 2014 to Spring 2015, the FDFS issued several press releases concerning formal charges brought against several Florida insurance agents who were alleged to have engaged in fraud, resulting in substantial investment losses for their clients. Those announcements are outlined here.
On January 5, 2016, the FDFS announced the arrest of another Florida insurance agent for stealing over $224,000 in funds intended to be used for deposit into an annuity issued by Bankers Life and Casualty Company. According to the FDFS, in the early 2015, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint involving Timothy T. Rush, a 38 year old Bradenton-based insurance agent, after a client suspected that his money was not being used for the purchase of a Bankers Life annuity, as agreed.
Following that initial complaint, the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud ("DIF") and Florida’s Division of Agents and Agency Services launched an independent investigation into the practices of Timothy T. Rush. DIF’s investigation revealed that Rush was a licensed insurance agent in Florida and had been appointed by Bankers Life to sell annuities. DIF learned that, in 2012, Rush sold a Bankers Life annuity to a Port Charlotte resident. However, even though Rush processed the initial paperwork to establish the annuity, several checks for deposit into the annuity were stolen by Rush. More specifically, in June 2012, Rush registered a fictitious name with the Florida Division of Corporations called "Bankers" that was used to open a separate bank account where he illegally deposited the annuity checks – a total of approx. $224,000 - from the Port Charlotte resident.
On December 30, 2015, Rush was arrested for fraud and booked into the Manatee County Jail for the theft of money that was to be used for Bankers Life annuities. According to court records, there are believed to be numerous victims.
Ewusiak Law, P.A., currently represents the interests of a victim of the aforementioned conduct, along with victims of another insurance agent who pocketed funds to be used for the purchase of annuities. Legal avenues exist for victims to recover all or some of their investment losses from the insurance companies, securities brokerage firms, and/or investment companies involved in the transactions at issue and for which the perpetrators act as employees or agents. If you believe that you are a victim of fraud by a Florida insurance agent, please contact Joel Ewusiak for assistance.