Five people were arrested in a Florida organized workers’ compensation scheme. The arrests of Otto Biltres, Tampa, 41; Charles Brown, Tarpon Springs, 38; Kelly Bree Brown, Tarpon Springs, 34; Johnny Alton Lewis, Clearwater, 51; and Joseph T. Jordan, Palm Harbor, 50, was announced by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater this week.
An investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud revealed that Otto Biltres, owner of a temporary staffing agency called Preferred Staffing of America, Inc., knowingly misled consumers into believing that his company was a licensed professional employer organization (PEO) and could perform PEO services such as providing workers’ compensation insurance coverage to client companies. Biltres charged client companies more than $130,000 for services and workers’ compensation insurance that was never provided.
Biltres formed a partnership with Charles Brown, a licensed insurance agent, to refer companies to Preferred Staffing of America, Inc. for a 45 percent commission. Brown is accused of assisting Biltres with falsifying all the certificates of insurance that Biltres sent to each of his clients.
Brown’s wife, Kelly Bree Brown, along with two unlicensed insurance agents, Joseph T. Jordan and Johnny Alton Lewis, is also accused of facilitating this organized scheme to defraud by steering client companies to Preferred Staffing of America, Inc. for a commission fee.
Biltres, Brown, Lewis, Jordan and Brown were booked into the Pinellas County Jail. If convicted, they each face up to 30 years in prison.
Source: Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud