Fla. Man Gets Burned Submitting False Claim

July 26, 2004

Editor’s Note: Since the original publication date of this article, John Carstea has been acquitted by jury trial on Sept. 29, 2005 on charges of uttering a forged instrument, insurance fraud by false claim, and grand theft in the 3rd degree.

A Hollywood, Florida, area man accused of falsifying an insurance claim after a December fire damaged a Southwest Ranches home that he owns was arrested by insurance fraud investigators with the Department of Financial Services on charges of insurance fraud, grand theft, and uttering a forged instrument.

John Carstea, 36, of Pembroke Pines, allegedly submitted to Poe Financial Services an altered contractor’s receipt for boarding up the damaged home. Investigators said the cost had been changed from $3,200 to $7,008, and that Carstea provided a tape-recorded statement to the insurance company confirming the expense.

Carstea filed the insurance claim following an early morning fire on Dec. 21, 2003, that destroyed a home he owns at 5301 SW 186th Ave. The State Fire Marshal’s Office, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, determined the fire was a result of arson, and an investigation is continuing. Fire investigators said the home was unoccupied.

Carstea was booked into the Broward County Jail where he was to remain pending posting of $3,000 bond. If convicted on all counts, he faces a statutory sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

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