Florida police bust drivers with fake insurance documents
Oct 10, 2012
The following article was posted to the www.local10.com website on October 9, 2012:
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies and officers from more than 70 law enforcement agencies in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties area participate in an operation that targets motorists with invalid insurance or fraudulent proof.
Local 10 Crime Specialist John Turchin rode along to see what police were up against.
In his 25 years on the force, Broward Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dave Argenti had asked for a proof of insurance thousands of times, but until Tuesday, he was never able to verify if a driver had insurance or whether the card was authentic.
“I would say it’s a 50/50 shot of getting somebody without insurance,” said Argenti. “When I asked her for her proof of insurance, she didn’t have any insurance. She claims to have it. I’m going to call in to see if they have an account on file for her. I assume they’re not going to. I’ve never heard of this insurance company.”
When a driver was pulled over, the officer called in to one of several command centers set up for the day. Nearly two dozen insurance providers who immediately ran a check on the insurance policies were on the other line.
Within seconds, the officer got verification of whether that driver was abiding by the State of Florida’s law requiring liability insurance.
“Imagine the catastrophic accident but the person who caused the accident has a false insurance card or not covered at all,” said Rick Wickliffe with State Farm. “I mean, that’s something that would be tragic to a family and something the entire public is paying for.”
On the road was the real measure of the operation’s success as motorists caught without proper paperwork were charged with carrying fraudulent proof of motor vehicle insurance, a third-degree felony.
“He’s got ten suspensions on his driver’s license for financial responsibility for not having insurance,” said Argenti. “So, he’s going to be arrested today for driving on a suspended driver’s license.”
In Broward County, 160 requests to verify insurance were made. Of those, cancelled insurance was confirmed for ten drivers, three people were arrested, and at least six vehicles were towed.
Numbers from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties were not immediately available.
Carrying fraudulent proof of motor vehicle insurance is punishable for a year and a day in prison and a fine.