NEW PORT RICHEY — An insurance agent is accused of filling out hurricane mitigation forms to get lower premiums for his customers — then forging the signature of a licensed contractor at the bottom.
Homeowners can hire a contractor to fill out the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form, which can reduce their insurance premiums. But authorities say Daniel S. Knapp, 42, filled out the forms for more than 52 people — collecting $125 from each one — even though he is not a licensed contractor.
Knapp stole the license numbers from two contractors and forged their signatures on the inspections, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.
The scam unraveled by coincidence: One couple who paid Knapp for an inspection noticed that the name signed on the form was that of Jeffrey Breadbanner, their neighbor across the street. Breadbanner is a licensed contractor who had nothing to do with Knapp's inspections. Knapp had obtained a copy of that contractor's license from an acquaintance who had done work with Breadbanner, the Sheriff's Office said.
Knapp worked for Carney Insurance in New Port Richey, which had to spend $1,650 in re-inspection fees for their customers after learning of the forged forms, the Sheriff's Office said.
Knapp, of New Port Richey, was arrested Wednesday on charges of scheme to defraud and criminal use of personal identification information. He was released from the Pasco County jail Thursday on $52,000 bail.