- Dean Smith
Ringleader of Massive Insurance Fraud Scheme Receives 20-Year Prison Sentence
According to Carli Teproff of The Miami Herald, 62-year-old Jorge Espinosa Sr., the owner of thepublic adjuster company Nationwide Adjusters LLC and the mastermind of a multimillion dollar insurance fraud scheme and criminal organization that set fire to homes for the purpose of filing fraudulent claims, was sentenced late last month.
Espinosa also allegedly conspired to “take care of a Miami prosecutor” in connection to his charges with the help of a hitman. However, Espinosa resorted to taking a plea deal, by pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy, racketeering, organized scheme to defraud, on top of over 28 counts of arson and additional counts of insurance fraud and grand theft. By taking the plea deal, there would be no additional charges regarding the hitman plot against the prosecutor.
After a joint investigation dubbed Operation Flames and Flood, led by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations and the Miami-Dade Police Department, Espinosa was officially arrested and charged in 2014. The investigation revealed that Espinosa, “intentionally set multiple homes on fire as well as caused water damage to other homes with the sole purpose of filing false and fraudulent insurance claims, according to the state attorney’s office. The office also noted that the arson for hire scheme involved the recruitment of homeowners in multiple counties by Espinosa.
In an effort to bring down additional coconspirators, investigators opened Operation Flames and Flood II in May of 2015, which led to 31 additional arrests all in connection to Espinosa.
According to the state attorney’s office, the damage totaled over $14 million with approximately 50 false claims at the expense of 14 insurance companies.
Espinosa’s sentence included 20 years in prison and to pay approximately $1.9 million in restitution.
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