Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon has reported that Operation Brakes on Fakes recently made an additional 13 arrests. This brings the total number sting arrests to 32.
The initial sting action on Oct. 19, 2011 netted 19 arrests. Two outstanding warrants remain. Brakes on Fakes charges range from false or fraudulent motor vehicle insurance card, sale of motor vehicle with altered odometer, title fraud, petty theft and fraudulent use of personal identification.
The Brakes on Fakes operation is a multi-agency task force initiated by Gannon to crack down on fraud. In addition to Gannon, task force members include the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit, the Delray Beach Police Department, the Florida Department of Financial Services, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Riviera Beach Police Department.
At Gannon’s request, local law enforcement trained agency staff to detect fraudulent documents and vehicle identification numbers. Service centers screen all documents for fraud as standard operating practice. All questionable proof of insurance coverage documents are reported to the insurance company for verification.
Fraud detection at Gannon’s service centers continues to identify new suspects since the initial sting. She estimates that 10 new fraud cases a week are forwarded to the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud. Detective Ted Padich reports that a new group of 20 warrants were issued netting 15 arrests. Investigators at the Division of Insurance Fraud claim the majority of the fraud is committed by people who unknowingly purchase bogus auto insurance from scam artists.
Gannon advises all auto owners to only purchase auto insurance from reputable agents and or companies. People selling insurance from their cars or on the street are likely scam artists.