(As originally published with additional photos, Thu, November 9th 2023, 3:40 PM EST)
BOCA RATON, Fla. (TND) — An insurance agent is facing nearly two dozen criminal charges for taking money from customers but not paying their premiums.
The Florida Department of Financial Services said that left one policyholder high and dry after Hurricane Ian, on the hook for $1 million in repairs.
Naser Al-Sweity, 62, was arrested last Monday, Oct. 30.
The state claims he misappropriated more than $131,000 in customer premiums.
Afterward, an insurance consumer told state financial detectives he tried to file an insurance claim on his damaged commercial property, but “discovered the property had no coverage even though he paid his premiums in full.”
His policy had been canceled for nonpayment of premiums.
According to the state, he paid $26,000 for property and flood insurance for the multi-unit apartment complex, and the check was made out to Florida P&C Insurance Agency in Boca Raton, owned by Al-Sweity.
The investigation found over two years, Al-Sweity took money from seven customers and “then financed each customer’s premiums through a premium finance agreement without their knowledge or approval.”
”Al-Sweity never made payments on the policies,” the state alleges, “which led to all seven customers losing insurance coverage. In total, Naser Al-Sweity pocketed more than $131,000.”
He’s charged with 12 counts of misappropriation of insurance funds, 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal ID information, and one count of organized scheme to defraud.
Al-Sweity pleaded not guilty and could face 30 years in prison.
”Agents who take advantage of their clients’ trust not only deserve to lose their license but deserve to sit behind the cold bars of a jail cell for a long time,” state CFO Jimmy Patronis said.