Florida CFO Awards Three "Witnesses" Total of $25,000 for Providing Info in Lee and Cates Fraud Case
February 1, 2011

The office of Florida chief financial officer Jeff Atwater has announced that the state has awarded a total of $25,000 to three "witnesses" who allegedly provided information in the insurance fraud case filed against Lee and Cates Glass Co. in Jacksonville, Fla., in early 2009.
The Florida CFO announcement says that one of the witnesses will be paid $15,000, one will receive $8,750 and the other $1,250. The witnesses were not identified.

The announcement regarding the witness awards was made as part of a general state announcement about citizens who allegedly assisted with insurance fraud cases. The total amount awarded across the state was $50,500—with nearly half of that going to witnesses in the Lee and Cates case.

“These citizens stepped up and made a tremendous contribution to the fight against insurance fraud,” said Atwater.

The state claims that Lee and Cates Glass Co. filed 2,245 fraudulent claims totaling more than $1.2 million, and that it allegedly did so by replacing windshields with aftermarket windshields while “charg[ing] insurance companies for new ones,” according to the latest statement. The original announcement about the investigation, made in April 2009, said that the company “allegedly overbilled windshields and associated parts by billing insurance companies for a dealer windshield but using a less expensive, aftermarket item.”

According to the latest report, 11 arrests have been made as a result of the investigation. In December, the company’s vice president of operations, Scott Cates, pleaded guilty scheming to defraud, filing false and fraudulent insurance claims (ranging from $20,000 to $100,000), conspiracy to file false insurance claims and the violation of racketeering laws.)

At press time, the Florida CFO’s press office had not responded to multiple requests for comment.

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