Cape insurance agent charged with embezzlement
A Cape Coral insurance agent is accused of pocketing nearly $16,000 in insurance premiums that customers paid to protect their residences.
Jonathan Eric Rush, 40, of 1319 S.W. Ninth Court, was arrested and charged Sept. 26 with one count each of embezzle misapply insurance premium over $300 under $20,000 and larceny grand theft $10,000 less than $20,000.
He has since been released from the Lee County Jail on $3,000 bond.
Several customers of The J. Rush Insurance Group paid premiums to Rush for homeowners insurance or flood policies, according to a report from the Division of Insurance Fraud at the Florida Department of Financial Services.
When they received notice of cancellation letters in the mail, they realized that their payments were misappropriated. An office staffer at J. Rush also noticed discrepancies in the escrow account and alerted company officials.
As a result, Rush was removed from the business accounts.
An investigation revealed that Rush had customers fill out checks for premiums on insurance policies and had them make the checks payable to him personally. A review of his business accounts found that he deposited the checks, but then drafted counter-checks and withdrew the money.
According to the report, Rush misused his fiduciary position at The J. Rush Insurance Group to pocket the premiums he obtained from his customers.
Rush could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Company officials are seeking about $15,564 in restitution from Rush for having to cover the premiums that were apparently stolen in order to make the policyholders whole and prevent the policies from lapsing or canceling.
The J. Rush Insurance Group could not be reached for comment.
As of Wednesday, Rush was listed as vice president on its Web site.
Rush has a court appearance scheduled for Oct. 29.