By Ashley Cox

PENSACOLA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – John Thomas, 51, of Pensacola pled guilty yesterday on wire fraud and money laundering charges related to selling fraudulent insurance policies to his clients in exchange for approximately $4.8 million in insurance premium payments. Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the guilty plea.

Court documents reflect that between September 2013 and February 2021, Thomas operated an insurance business known as Thomas Insurance, LLC. and defrauded customers through a type of insurance fraud known as premium diversion. Thomas executed this scheme by collecting insurance premiums from customers and keeping the funds for personal use instead of producing insurance policies. To conceal his acts, Thomas gave the customers fraudulent documents referencing insurance policies that did not exist.

This case resulted from a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Investigative & Forensic Services, Bureau of Insurance Fraud. Work is ongoing to ensure all alleged victims are identified. If you are a client of Thomas Insurance, LLC. and wish to speak to an investigating agent regarding your policy, please contact FBI Jacksonville at 904-248-7000 or email FLinsurancefraud@fbi.gov, and reference “Thomas Insurance.”  An FBI representative will respond with additional instructions.

Thomas’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 29, 2021, at 2:00 pm, at the United States District Courthouse in Pensacola before the Honorable District Judge T.K. Wetherell. Thomas faces a maximum term of 20 years’ imprisonment for wire fraud, a maximum term of 10 years’ imprisonment for money laundering, and a maximum term of 20 years’ imprisonment for money laundering to conceal proceeds of specified unlawful activity.