VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The “mastermind” behind an insurance fraud scheme that netted its members more than a quarter of a million dollars was sentenced to three years in prison, according to District 7 State Attorney R.J. Larizza.
Walter Malet, 32, was sentenced to three years in the Florida State Prison with 12 years of parole for his role in the theft of $262,559.45 from Security First Insurance Company of Florida. According to a news release sent out Thursday, Malet and 10 others would misuse the company’s insurance claims system to reopen closed claims, issue expense checks to illicit or ghost vendors, and close the claims without supervisory review in 2018-19.
[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
“This case is a shining example of the private sector partnering with the State Attorney’s Office to investigate and successfully prosecute a complex and sophisticated group of thieves,” Larizza said.
It’s a first-degree felony in Florida to use an organized scheme such as this to defraud others of more than $100,000, the state attorney’s office said; all 11 members of the ring were otherwise charged with grand theft of over $100,000, another first-degree felony. Six of the 11 cases remain pending, but the remaining co-defendants have pleaded guilty, according to the news release.
“Our combined efforts are holding the defendants accountable while working to keep insurance costs down,” Larizza said. “As our state continues to grow, so will the efforts of schemers and fraudsters. We must continue to attack scams, fraud and schemes whenever and wherever they rear their ugly head.”
Locke Burt, the company’s chairman and CEO, said that reducing and combating fraud is the best way to keep premiums and costs to a minimum.
“We want the people of Florida to understand how important these cases are to everyone in Florida and if you see fraud, report fraud,” Burt said.