Suburban Lake Worth agent charged in insurance fraud case

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When Ruth Tarantini’s boyfriend was in a crash that left a motorcyclist dead, she at least found some comfort in the fact that she had insurance.

Except she didn’t.

Authorities allege her agent changed effective dates to show her policy wasn’t due to start for another four days.

Now Hector Marcano, Jr., 47, of suburban Lake Worth, is charged with embezzlement and misapplying an insurance premium.

When Marcano was arrested in October for two similar incidents, reports say, he confessed to “an error” and said he wouldn’t do it again; he also said he had not victimized other customers.

In court today, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Krista Marx ordered Marcano released on his own recognizance.

According to an affidavit by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud, Marcano operated American Dream Insurance Services at 1007 10 Ave. N. in Lake Worth.

The office has since closed, but records show the state issued Marcano Broward County licenses to represent six different firms on Dec. 1, after he already had been charged in the October cases and was a suspect in the cases for which he was arrested this week.

This week’s affidavit says Tarantini bought a policy in late 2009 for her 1998 Isuzu Rodeo, paying $432.

On Feb. 2, 2010, her boyfriend, Sergio Herrera-Pena, was driving the vehicle in Boynton Beach when it collided with a motorcycle driven by Joseph S. Williams, 18, of Boynton Beach. Williams died days later.

When she contacted insurer Windhaven Insurance, she learned the policy hadn’t gone into effect until Feb. 6 – four days after the crash.

Windhaven managers told investigators a document dated Feb. 6 is allegedly signed by Tarantini in six places and her policy was canceled March 7 for non-payment.

But managers said Marcano obtained a driving record report for Tarantini on Nov. 17, the day after her first payment.

Tarantini has since affirmed she never signed the Feb. 6 document.

Marcano also was arrested Oct. 11 and left jail later that day on his own recognizance in the other two cases, jail records and affidavits show.

Motorists identified only as Alexandra Hernandez and Jesus Torres paid Marcano $1,400 and $455, respectively. Both later learned – Hernandez when police pulled her over – that their licenses were suspended for lack of insurance.

Windhaven managers later learned Marcano had sent only Hernandez’ $246 down-payment, and none of Torres’ money, and had not submitted any paperwork for either.

He also had given the two insurance cards with fake policy numbers.

Marcano later gaver Hernandez $400 in his parking lot and Torres $500 at a service station.

Both drivers later told investigators they’d gotten insurance and their licenses were restored. Torres said he was square but Hernandez said she felt Marcano still owed her about $700.

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