Florida Charges Woman with Unlicensed Claims Adjusting of Hurricane Irma Damages

February 22, 2019

A Florida woman has been arrested for alleged unlicensed practice of public adjusting and grand theft related to Hurricane Irma, according to a statement from the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Mary Bruce is accused of attempting to steal more than $68,000 in fraudulent insurance claims. This is Bruce’s second arrest for insurance fraud this year. Officials said she bonded out of jail in January and was arrested again on separate charges.

DFS investigators claim Bruce approached homeowners whose home sustained roof and interior damages from Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Bruce allegedly told the homeowners that she was an “independent claims adjuster” that could negotiate settlements with insurance companies. Bruce required the homeowners to pay $3,500 and to sign a power of attorney. Bruce, however, is not a licensed attorney, public adjuster, nor is she a general contractor.

According to officials, Bruce then submitted fraudulent cost estimates for roofing work to the insurance company. In total, she submitted $68,000 in fraudulent insurance claims to the homeowner’s insurance company.

Bruce was arrested and booked into the Brevard County Jail and charged for rendering services as an unlicensed public adjuster, as well as for grand theft.

If convicted, Bruce faces up to 10 years in prison. Her previous arrest was on charges of unlicensed public adjusting and filing of false and fraudulent lien in Orange County.

“It never ceases to amaze me the lengths these scam artists will go to steal your hard-earned money,” CFO Jimmy Patronis, who oversees Florida DFS, said. “My detectives caught this criminal once, and they have arrested her again.”

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services

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