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Miami man accused of selling bogus auto insurance, state agency says

William Edwin Diehl Jr. pocketed more than $29,000 from the scam, according to Florida’s Department of Financial Services.
 
A Miami man is accused of selling bogus auto insurance after customers complained that the crimes triggered suspension of their driver licenses, according to Florida’s Department of Financial Services.
A Miami man is accused of selling bogus auto insurance after customers complained that the crimes triggered suspension of their driver licenses, according to Florida’s Department of Financial Services. [ Tribune News Service ]
Published Feb. 7

Talk about a pileup of bad fortune for auto insurance consumers.

A Miami man is accused of selling bogus auto insurance after customers complained that the crimes triggered suspension of their driver’s licenses, according to Florida’s Department of Financial Services.

One of the victims found out about the bogus insurance after getting in a car crash, the department said in a news release.

William Edwin Diehl Jr., 39, was arrested Jan. 30 on charges of selling insurance without a license, carrying out an organized scheme to defraud, use of a communications device to commit a crime, and grand theft in the second degree — all felonies. If convicted on all charges, Diehl could face up to 30 years in prison.

Diehl pocketed more than $29,000 from the scam, the release said.

It started when Diehl presented himself at Douglas Auto Sales in Miami as an insurance agent who could help the dealer’s customers obtain auto insurance after they purchased vehicles, the release said.

Then, one of the customers was involved in a crash and learned there was no insurance, according to the release. The dealership filed a fraud complaint with the Department of Financial Services, which turned up seven additional victims, some of whom had their drivers’ licenses suspended for not having auto insurance, the release said.

Statements provided by the victims indicated that Diehl sold them fake insurance between September and December of 2023 and directed them to pay their premiums using the Zelle or Cash direct payment apps.

Diehl turned himself in to Florida’s Bureau of Insurance Fraud and was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on the four felony charges. Bond was set at $5,000, the Miami-Dade Clerk of Court website shows.

Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, issued a statement about the case, saying: “Floridians must stay on guard for fraud by researching and working with reputable and licensed insurance professionals to avoid being defrauded. If you, your family, or friends are suspicious of fraud, please report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com.”

Insurance purchasers who suspect fraud can check their agent’s license status at licensesearch.fldfs.com or by calling the department’s consumer helpline at 1-877-693-5236.

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