The former CEO of an animal charity has entered a guilty plea on 10 felony fraud charges brought by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office.
Albert Adams, the former CEO of the nonprofit Soaring Paws, pleaded guilty to fraudulent pet insurance claims after an investigation by the Florida Chief Financial Officer’s Office and prosecutors from the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office. That investigation found that Adams had signed up for a pet insurance policy and sought false reimbursements for pets’ medical expenses.
He will serve 15 months in prison followed by 10 years’ probation. He will also need to repay the nearly $13,000 obtained fraudulently.
“This con man pled guilty because we built such a strong case against him with our law enforcement partners,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement. “He has preyed on the huge hearts of dog lovers. Once again, he’ll face serious consequences for his scams — with time behind bars.”
The former CEO was initially charged with six felonies, but prosecutors tacked on four more charges as the investigation progressed.
The investigation found that Adams had filed claims for nine nonexistent procedures reportedly performed between March 4 and April 8, 2020, on two dogs belonging to him. He received payment for nearly $13,000 worth of medical procedures that were never performed.
The pet insurance provider, Healthy Paws, discovered the fraudulent claims and contacted law enforcement.
Adams is charged on one count of Organized Fraud Less Than $20,000 and nine counts of False Statement in Support of an Insurance Claim Less Than $20,000 — each charge is a third-degree felony.
And, this isn’t Adams’ first time run-in with the law. Back in 2018, Hillsborough County prosecutors convicted Adams of false charity work for defrauding donors to the Soaring Paws nonprofit. In that case, Adams was found to have used donations intended to help fly abused animals to new homes to instead pay for his own personal expenses.
The former CEO was on probation from that previous conviction when he committed the pet insurance fraud.
Before he heads to state prison, Adams will be taken south to the Lee County Jail, where he has another pending criminal case for attempting to fraudulently sell a woman a nonexistent dog for $575.