Fake insurance cards lead to 25 arrests

| 5/15/2006

Twenty-five dump truck drivers were arrested in South Florida in early May for purchasing and presenting false insurance cards to state Department of Transportation officers.

The drivers were arrested as part of a joint investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Insurance Fraud Division, the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office.

The investigation centered on Robert Dominguez, a Miami man who was arrested in January and charged with selling fraudulent insurance to truckers.

The Insurance Fraud Division’s Lt. Bill Santner told Land Line that Dominguez told authorities that the truck drivers knew the cards they were purchasing were fake.

“The information we have is that the truck drivers we arrested knew that the cards they were carrying were fake because they purchased them face-to-face from the person that we had arrested previously that was selling them, who cooperated with us,” he said.

Santner said Dominguez told each driver he sold the cards to that they were simply certificates of insurance and did not qualify as real insurance policies.

“He said, ‘If you have a problem call me, but you don’t really have insurance,’ ” Santner said.

Furthermore, Santner said the cost of the cards indicates that the drivers knew what they were doing when they purchased them.

“We have the records that show how much they paid, and for a liability policy that costs the average dump truck driver in South Florida $10,000, they were buying an insurance card for $300,” he said

Santner said there are about 125 truck drivers in south Florida who are still driving around with the phony cards.

“We arrested 25 and are trying to contact the rest,” he said. “And I’m sure this isn’t the only case in South Florida where this is being done.”

Santner said the drivers arrested so far could face a maximum of 10 years in state prison for their actions, though in reality the penalty will probably be less. For those still out there carrying the cards, Santner had some words of advice:

“The very first thing they need to do is go get insurance,” he said. “Make sure they have coverage for when they’re on the road. After that if they want to mail (the fake cards) in, tear them up or contact us to make some other arrangements, they are more than welcome to do that.”

Those who suspect they may be carrying false cards can contact the Miami field office of the Insurance Fraud Division at (302) 536-0302. 

– By Terry Scruton, senior writer