Jimmy Patronis announces arrests of 4 in faked accident insurance benefits scheme

Floridians, on average, pay more than 47 other states' residents when measuring the average annual cost of full-coverage car insurance policies.

An attempted insurance fraud  — a crime helping to fuel Florida’s position as the state with the third-highest average car insurance rates in the country — got four men a free ride to the Miami-Dade County lock-up.

Bryan Carlos Hernandez, Elvis Fonseca Lauzao, Juan Fonseca Lauzao and Rusland Rivero Tellez, were charged May 22 with various felonies, according to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. Those felonies include grand theft, organized fraud, false insurance claims and setting up a staged accident for the purpose of insurance fraud.

The four exploited personal injury protection (PIP) benefits of their insurance policies, billing Progressive Insurance and National General insurance after a staged May 12, 2023 accident in Miami-Dade County that had no reported injuries, according to an investigation by the CFO’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID), Miami Field Office.

“If you engage in insurance fraud in Florida, you will be exposed and held accountable,” Patronis said, according to a news release. “PIP fraud not only undermines the integrity of our insurance markets but also imposes an undue financial burden on every Florida resident in the form of inflated insurance premiums.” 

Indeed, the average, annual cost of a full-coverage policy in Florida, at $2,917, is 44% higher, or about $900 more, than the national average, which clocks in at about $2,019 a year, according to Insurify, a national insurance comparison platform.

Each of the accused in this case faces up to 10 years in prison, if convicted, according to Patronis’ office.

The investigation found that the men went to physical therapy clinics for injuries they never sustained. Progressive Insurance was then billed a combined total of over $28,000 from two clinics and paid out over $28,000. National General Insurance was billed over $59,000 and paid out over $24,000. Both insurance companies were billed for physical therapy none of the four individuals were entitled to, according to a news release..

“Big thank you to my dedicated insurance fraud detectives for tracking down these individuals and bringing them to justice,” Patronis said, according to a prepared statement.

The office seems to have more work to do. Insurify cites “severe weather events” and “rampant insurance fraud,” for the high cost of Florida car insurance.

While national car insurance average costs take up about 2.6% of the national median household income, the median household in Florida sends about 4.3% of its income to car insurance, according to the latest report from Insurify.

Florida falls behind New York, with the highest-priced car insurance, and Nevada in national rankings. The Sunshine State is tied with New York  for the budget bite of insurance when looking at households at the median income.

Identical attempts at reform (SB 464 /HB 653) filed by Republican legislators, Sen. Erin Grall of Vero Beach and Rep. Danny Alvarez of Hillsborough County, both died in committee.

There’s some hope that a bipartisan measure (SB 1002), which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in 2023, will go a way to bring down insurance premiums and unclog auto glass claims in the courts.


Florida Politics staff writer Jesse Scheckner contributed to this report.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • 🌞

    May 26, 2024 at 6:54 pm

    Is this I want my cash back fraud? That they make me pay in a car dependency place..
    3 grand a year is awful high
    Maintenance is also sky high

    • Elvis Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

      May 27, 2024 at 8:31 am

      Good Morn ‘Ting Sage Patriots,
      What my buddy Jimmy wishes he could tell you about these types of crimes is that 73.233,% of these “Evil Bond Villen,” perps are politically “Dook 4 Brains 08iden Supporting Leftys”.
      Thankfully I, Elvis [FKA EARL] Pitts American, am under no such government disclosure restrictions.
      So in closing, Sage Patriots, now you know what my buddy, Jimmy, cant tell you about what around 75% of these Evil Bond Villen criminals all have in common. They are, as a vast majority, affilliated politically with “Dook 4 Brains Leftism”.
      Your welcome America, this Sage Wisdom has been brought to you courtsey of ME, Elvis Pitts American

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        May 27, 2024 at 9:13 am

        It would be hard to imagine a more inane or ignorant comment than yours. Unfortunately, ,a good many of those who feel as you do are even more illiterate and unable even to express themselves in writing, but the good news is that they may possibly get lost on voting day.

        • Elvis Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

          May 27, 2024 at 1:35 pm

          Thank you, “Dook 4 Brains Lefty”, Markey May,
          Unfourtantly, Markey May, I have no need of your services as I’ve already got Rick Whitaker as my “Fake Lefty” followup “Dook 4 Brains Leftist” follow-up Contrarian commenter.
          Rick’s making a great living working for me and frankley, Markey May, you just need to move the eff along.

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            May 27, 2024 at 1:59 pm

            You dook.

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  • Terri

    May 27, 2024 at 6:52 am

    Why did SB464/HB653 die in Banking and Insurance committee?

    • Elvis Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

      May 27, 2024 at 8:50 am

      Good Morn ‘Ting,
      My friend Terri,
      While your question is valid your delivery lacks in entertainment value. I suggest you follow my, Elvis Pitts American’s, knowledge drops of Sage Wisdom and try to “Up Your Game” by giving our Beloved Readership what they want.
      Terri if you want to become a relevant on-line influncer you have to deliver “Entertainment Value” to the public or you are just “Spinning Your Wheels” and making yourself feel good.
      Glad to be here for you Terri,
      Elvis Pitts American

  • MarvinM

    May 27, 2024 at 1:44 pm

    Committing insurance (car, health, etc.) fraud is bad, and everyone who does it should be punished to the full extent of the law.
    However, until the Florida politicians can take this action and turn it into actual savings for Floridians, I’m not going to give them any kudos.
    Fact is, most insurance companies will happily have less fraud (lower costs to them) but will still not lower rates.
    Until these laws force companies to return the savings they are getting back to the customers (laws that have real, enforceable teeth in them and the state attorney general goes after companies that do not comply), our prices ain’t going down.

  • rick whitaker

    May 27, 2024 at 3:10 pm

    MARVINM, the fix is in, everybody has given desantis his cut, so now he can start competing with scott for the biggest ripper of floridians tax and insurance money. I DID NOT VOTE FOR DESANTIS, so don’t blame me for what has happened to florida.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 27, 2024 at 9:46 pm

    Was one of the four Rick Scott? Or did Rick come out unscathed once again?

Comments are closed.


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