NAPLES, Fla. – The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the arrest of two roofing contractors in Naples, Fla. for allegedly operating a scheme for free roof replacements related to damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
In a release, the department stated Brian Webb and Brandon Jourdan of Webb Roofing & Construction LLC were arrested and charged on nine counts of filing False & Fraudulent Insurance Claims, a third-degree felony. They were involved in a scheme that allegedly enticed homeowners with rebates to cover their insurance deductible if they submitted a full roof replacement claim to their property insurance company.
“Scam roofing schemes are driving up insurance rates for every Florida family and plaguing our state," said Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis. "There is no such thing as a free roof and if someone comes to your door offering rebates or kickbacks to file a roof claim on your behalf, report them to my office for fraud immediately. My fraud detectives are working every day to track down these bad actors and hold them accountable."
An investigation by the CFO’s Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, Bureau of Insurance Fraud unveiled that Webb and Jourdan allegedly conducted an insurance fraud scheme of instructing their sales employees to solicit insured homeowners with a promise they can get them a new roof without paying the required homeowner's deductible. Webb Roofing employees allegedly enticed homeowners into submitting claims for their "damaged" roofs allegedly caused by Hurricane Irma to their insurance carriers for full roof replacements.
The salespeople would have the homeowner sign over their insurance claim rights in an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) and have them sign an "advertising agreement" in exchange for waving their deductible. By signing the advertising agreement and allowing an advertising sign to be placed in their yard, providing positive reviews online and giving neighborhood referrals, Webb Roofing would "rebate" or "credit" the amount of the deductible toward the cost of the claim, which is illegal under Florida law.
"There is no room for roofers that take advantage of Florida homeowners. If someone commits insurance fraud in Florida, they will be caught and they will pay the price," said Patronis.
Webb and Jourdan were booked into Collier and Lee County Jail. If convicted on all charges, they each face a maximum sentence of up to a $45,000 fine and up to 45 years in prison.