JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A former Fernandina Beach insurance agent is accused of taking out more than $5 million in bogus insurance policies for nine people he never met.
James Frederick Jones, 37, is suspected of issuing policies ranging from $400,000 to $750,000 for nine people without their knowledge, so he could collect $38,500 in commissions.
Jones was booked Friday into the Duval County jail on an arrest warrant charging him with 13 counts of felony identity theft and one count of fraud. Jail logs show he remains in custody on $100,000 bond.
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“Stealing someone’s identity to make a buck off of a fraudulent life insurance policy is shameful,” said state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “Florida is a top state for identity fraud and we will do everything possible to protect your information.”
State insurance investigators began looking into Jones after receiving a complaint from Transamerica Insurance Company about a fraudulent policy issued to a Jacksonville man.
According to the warrant, the man testified that he had not, in fact, purchased a $750,000 life insurance policy through Transamerica and that he had never met with Jones, the listed agent.
The company launched an internal investigation that found five of the applications Jones submitted for his clients’ policies were all linked to the same Wells Fargo bank account. Three of those people told investigators they had never signed the policy paperwork, nor had they met with Jones.
Investigators found several issues with nine policy applications, including inaccurate addresses, Social Security numbers and signatures. The warrant said it appears Jones, who at one point worked for an Allstate office in St. Johns, submitted bogus policies so he could collect commissions.
Based on what the investigation uncovered, authorities got a warrant in May for Jones’ arrest. He was later jailed in Worth County, Georgia, and then transported on Friday back to Jacksonville.
A company spokesperson told News4Jax Jones is no longer with Allstate, noting that he was terminated as soon as the company learned of the situation.
“Our customers’ privacy and information is always top priority and we are cooperating with law enforcement,” the spokesperson said.
Jones is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment Aug. 20.
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