CFO Patronis: If you Scam Seniors, Well Throw you in Jail

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12/27/2017

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Contact: Jon Moore, 850.413.2842,
Former New Jersey Insurance Agent Arrested in Florida for Stealing $100,000 from Senior Citizens in Annuity Fraud Scheme
 
NAPLES, Fla. – CFO Jimmy Patronis announced today the recent arrest of Victor Rennols, an ex-appointed New Jersey insurance agent with Great American Insurance Group, who stole a total of $100,000 from three senior New Jersey residents by selling fake annuities. Rennols misrepresented himself as an appointed agent with Great American Insurance Group and would travel to Naples, Florida, where Rennols had family ties, to cash the victims’ monies.

CFO Patronis’ Bureau of Insurance Fraud (BIF) received a referral from the Great American Insurance Group regarding Rennols’ misrepresentation of himself as a current, employed insurance agent and his alleged sale of annuity accounts under their business name. As a result of BIF's investigation, it was discovered that Rennols received payment from three senior citizen victims, but kept the funds for personal use instead of opening the annuity accounts with Great American Insurance. 

“I want to be clear: If you scam seniors, we will find you and we will arrest you,” said CFO Jimmy Patronis.My consumer services office works daily to protect seniors from being taken advantage of, and our law enforcement teams do everything possible to root out the criminals that prey on our most vulnerable consumers.
 
BIF investigators were able to confirm Rennols met with his first victim in January 2016 in New Jersey and advised that the elderly victim roll over $60,000 from her Allianz Life annuity and write a check payable to “Great American Life” in the same amount. The victim gave the check to Rennols under the promise that an annuity account would be setup. In return, Rennols presented the victim with fictitious documentation confirming the transaction and returned to Florida to deposit the funds into an account in his name.

Rennols met with two other senior victims in August 2016 in New Jersey and engaged in a very similar scheme. Rennols sold the victims fake annuity products from Great American Insurance Group, this time requesting a check of $5,000 from one victim and $35,000 from the third victim, depositing those checks into the same account in Florida.

A Great American Insurance representative provided investigators an affidavit attesting to the facts that Rennols was no longer an appointed agent, did not have the authority to sell annuities representing their name and none of the three victims were provided annuities. Bank surveillance photographs were also obtained illustrating Rennols depositing the stolen funds, and later making large cash withdrawals from the same account.
A capias warrant for Victor Rennols was issued in April 2017 by the State Attorney's Office Economic Crimes Unit of Collier County. Rennols was charged with one count of scheme to defraud but Rennols was not able to be located in the Naples area and investigators believed that Rennols fled the area during this time.   

During a traffic stop by Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) in Lee County on I-75 , FHP arrested Rennols on the outstanding warrant from Collier County. Rennols also had a warrant out of Virginia for similar alleged activity. Rennols is currently being held in Collier County Jail without bond and is also being investigated by authorities in New York, New Jersey and Virginia for similar criminal activity.

Investigators believe Rennols may have defrauded additional victims and encourage members of the community who have recently engaged in the purchase of annuity products from Victor Rennols to contact the Department of Financial Services’ Insurance Fraud Hotline by calling 1-800-378-0445.
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About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a native Floridian and a member of Florida’s Cabinet, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook () and Twitter ().
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