Escambia Insurance Company Owner Gets 14 Years, Ordered To Pay $8.3 Million In Restitution

March 23, 2023

An Escambia County insurance company owner has been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay millions in restitution.

John Thomas, 52, was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering charges related to selling fraudulent insurance policies. In addition to his prison sentence, he was ordered to pay $8,340,153.34 in restitution. Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida announced the sentence.

“This sentence should serve as a significant deterrent to those who would defraud our citizens, in this case depriving them of critical insurance coverage, simply to unlawfully enrich themselves,” said U.S. Attorney Coody. “Our law enforcement partners are to be commended for their tireless dedication during this investigation and prosecution. Through their collective efforts, the defendant has been held accountable and justice has been obtained for his victims.”

Between September 2013 and February 2021, Thomas operated an insurance business known as Thomas Insurance, LLC. and defrauded customers over $4.8 million in insurance premium payments 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.

“Today’s sentencing should serve as a warning to anyone who uses illegal means and criminal behavior to take advantage of others,” said Sherri E. Onks, special agent in charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “The victims in this case suffered significant loss and pain as a result of this deception, never knowing they were without insurance coverage until disaster struck. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work on behalf of innocent victims and investigate and pursue those who selfishly commit fraud for personal gain at the expense of others.”

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronus said, “Insurance fraud is a serious crime that causes rates to go up for every hard-working family and business owner in Florida Unfortunately, there are bad actors who think they can use fraud schemes like this to line their own pockets. I hope this case serves as a warning that if you commit fraud in Florida, you will be caught and held accountable. Thank you to the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and my dedicated insurance fraud detectives for helping put an end to this costly fraud scheme.”


12 Responses to “Escambia Insurance Company Owner Gets 14 Years, Ordered To Pay $8.3 Million In Restitution”

  1. Steve on March 23rd, 2023 10:41 pm

    12 years for financial crimes is a long time.
    I know there are a lot of people that he stole from that are greatly effected by it.
    But he has no way to ever pay any part back sitting in jail.
    He should lose everything and do a good bit in jail, BUT
    I want dangerous violent felons to be in there longer. I dont want them mixing as they turn everything bad. And those with and around in there are forced to become what the most evil they can to survive.
    There has to be a better way to deal with white collar crimes as compared to violent crimes.

  2. Hmmm on March 23rd, 2023 4:07 pm

    @John Bone Jones – No parole in the Feds, unless you were sentenced years ago. Get no disciplinaries in prison, mandatory to serve 85%, so just under 12 years… if he can get a year of halfway house, he’ll end up doing about 11 years behind the wall.

  3. John Bone Jones on March 23rd, 2023 2:02 pm

    @Steve, depending on his priors, he’ll be eligible for parole after a few years.

  4. Bewildered on March 23rd, 2023 12:35 pm

    Steve: 14 years seems way too long!! Tell that to the people who found out they had no insurance when they needed it! They should confiscate every dime this piece of trash owns and make his victims whole; but he probably planned ahead and his assets are somewhere offshore

  5. Weller and Co. on March 23rd, 2023 12:26 pm

    These things take time. But they get it eventually.

  6. David Greene on March 23rd, 2023 12:19 pm

    @ singing the blues-

    Sally came to town and his customers filed claims.

    Sad thing is, I knew this guy when he was a kid. Knew his mom, dad and sister.

    His grandfather was a RADM.

    He got caught up with the Country Club/Seville Quater folks and wanted to be like them.

    It’s good his dad (Jack) is not around anymore to see this happen to John.

    Sad and Tragic.

  7. Singing the Blues on March 23rd, 2023 10:30 am

    Why did it take 10+ years for this to be exposed? I can do one questionable Google Review and get smoked immediately ….. Dang

  8. RaD on March 23rd, 2023 10:11 am

    He took $4.8M over 7.5 years, or about $640,000/year. I wish the US attorney or FBI would have commented on how much they were able to recover for the victims.

  9. Susie on March 23rd, 2023 9:16 am

    Better be checking this thief out for other bank accounts he might be holding some of that money in for when he gets out. What a POS. Glad he got caught.

  10. Bill T on March 23rd, 2023 9:09 am

    Well good luck on getting the 8 million dollars back !! Never gonna happen !!! He will be lucky is he survives the prison sentence !!!

  11. John Bone Jones on March 23rd, 2023 8:29 am

    enjoy jail, bud

  12. Steve on March 23rd, 2023 7:26 am

    I am glad he was caught. But 14 years for a non-violent crime seems way too long.
    We got people committing serious crimes and they get far less.

    He should get a few years to remind others that this type of crime is bad. AND made to pay back the people to make them whole. But to spend over a decade in jail seems out of wack. But as the old saying goes, dont mess with my money, you will end up in prison