Former Tampa Pet Charity CEO Pleads Guilty to Pet Insurance Fraud
TAMPA, FL – Former CEO of a Tampa pet-friendly nonprofit to serve 15 months in jail after pleading guilty to stealing nearly $ 13,000 from a pet insurance company .
Albert Lonzo Adams III, who ran Soaring Paws, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison followed by 10 years of probation. He also has to pay back the $ 13,000 he scammed.
“This con artist pleaded guilty because we have built a strong case against him with our law enforcement partners,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said. “He has attacked the immense hearts of dog lovers. Once again, he will face dire consequences for his scams, with time behind bars.”
In 2018, Hillsborough prosecutors convicted Adams of defrauding supporters of his charity Soaring Paws after using donations meant to help transport abused animals to new homes to pay for personal expenses.
The new charges don’t come from bogus charity work, but from pet insurance fraud. An investigation revealed that Adams had taken out a pet insurance policy, which would reimburse her for the medical expenses of her pets. Adams filed claims for $ 12,984.98 for medical procedures that were never performed with pet insurance provider Healthy Paws between March 4 and April 8, 2020.
The pet insurance provider discovered the deception and contacted law enforcement.
Investigators from the Florida CFO and prosecutors from the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office collaborated in the investigation, which identified false allegations for nine non-existent procedures allegedly performed on two dogs belonging to Adams.
Initially, Adams was charged with six felonies, but prosecutors added four more charges as the investigation continued.
The resulting charges are one count of organized fraud under $ 20,000 and nine counts of misrepresentation in support of an insurance claim under $ 20,000. Each count is a third degree felony.
Adams had been on probation since his Soaring Paws fraud conviction when he committed these new crimes, which led to Judge Lyann Goudie imposing the lengthy prison and probation sentence.
Adams pleaded guilty on July 7, a day before his trial began.
Deputy State Attorney Amy Casanova Ward, who is part of the Economic Crimes Unit of the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, has led the prosecution.
Before heading to State Prison, Adams was taken south to Lee County Jail, where he has another pending criminal case of attempted fraudulent sale of a nonexistent dog to a woman for $ 575. .
See the related story: Pet Insurance Fraud Charges Against Tampa Man