Roofing company accused of 'intentionally and schematically causing damage' for insurance money, 4 arrests made

Roofing company accused of ‘intentionally and schematically causing damage’ for insurance money, 4 arrests made

(As originally published with additional photos, Tue, December 5th 2023, 4:36 PM EST)

TAMPA, Fla. (TND) — Florida officials announced the arrests of four people at a roofing company for what it called “their alleged involvement in intentionally and schematically causing damage to homeowner’s roofs to file fraudulent property insurance claims to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.”

Citizens is the insurer of last resort as other companies leave or scale back their business in the Sunshine State due to expensive hurricane damage.

“There’s no end to how low bad actors will go to try and get a piece of your insurance claim,” state CFO Jimmy Patronis said. “Faking roof damage and inflating insurance claims is not only wrong, it’s a driving cause behind the rise of home insurance premiums for every single Floridian.”

Investigators said they found that for a year starting in September 2019, four employees of Castle Roofing Company “conducted a systematic and ongoing course of business practices to defraud insurance companies and homeowners.”

The investigation started when “Citizens became suspicious of claims filed by Castle and began an internal review of all their claims.”

The insurance company said claims “revealed a pattern of damage that was consistent with man-made manipulation of roof coverings.

“In addition, video footage was obtained of Castle employees causing damages to roofs that were later presented as wind damage.”

Roofing company accused of 'intentionally and schematically causing damage' for insurance money, 4 arrests made
FILE – Men cover a roof with tarps, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, a week after Hurricane Ida swept through the area. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

The state said its criminal probe found the former vice-president of sales “was allegedly training Castle employees to fabricate roof damage to facilitate fraudulent roof claims.”

The executive, Paul Vatour, and three employees — Kiana Vatour, Robert Lusk, Jr., and Robert Lusk, Sr. — were arrested last Thursday, Nov. 30.

Charges against them include grand theft, criminal use of personal ID, aggravated white collar crime, and insurance fraud.

“Homeowners must be on the lookout for fraudsters like these trying to make a quick buck, especially following a storm,” Patronis added.

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