Florida Scam Victims to Receive More than $2.9M in Restitution

February 20, 2006

Two businessmen have been ordered to pay more than $2.9 million in consumer restitution to Floridians as part of their criminal sentences for their roles in an insurance scam, according to Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist.

William Paul Crouse and Carmelo Zanfei, the principals of TRG Marketing, LLC, were sentenced for selling unauthorized health plans to more than 7,000 Floridians, resulting in millions of dollars of unpaid claims.

Crouse and Zanfei reportedly marketed an unauthorized self-insured health plan to citizens of Florida and those from 43 other states, claiming that the plan was exempt from the licensing and certification requirements of Florida law. Investigators determined that the health plan was insufficiently funded and the company failed to pay millions of dollars in claims.

“Insurance is intended to provide people with a sense of security, not scam them out of their hard-earned money in a time of need,” Crist said. “It is important that Floridians be able to trust those who are offering them financial security.”

Crouse pled guilty to racketeering and four counts of unlawful transaction of insurance in June 2005 and was sentenced to four years in prison. Zanfei pled guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and four counts of unlawful transaction of insurance in June 2005, and was sentenced to two years in prison. Both defendants were also sentenced to 20 years of supervised probation with the special condition that they make restitution to victims of their scam after they are released from prison.

The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution received the case in April 2003 from investigators with the Department of Financial Services. Although the health plan was illegally marketed in 43 other states, Florida was the only state to pursue criminal charges against Crouse and Zanfei.

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