Former Bartow/Plant City Insurance Agent Charged with Fraud
TAMPA, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Heidi Y. Calonge (34) with four counts of bank fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of mail fraud. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison on the bank fraud charges, and up to 20 years’ imprisonment on each wire and mail fraud charge. The indictment also notifies her that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of the proceeds of the fraud. Calonge was arrested and had her initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Pizzo yesterday. She was released on bond.
According to the indictment, Calonge was employed as the lead agent and manager of a small insurance company located in Plant City—“Express Insurance of Plant City.” In that capacity, she devised a scheme to defraud the owners out of bonus and commission checks from various insurance companies with whom the company did business. Calonge allegedly posed as the company’s owner by opening a post office box in a similar corporate name, filing corporate paperwork, registering a similar fictitious name, and opening a personal bank account in that fictitious name in order to deposit checks rightfully due and owed to the true owners of the company. The indictment further alleges that Calonge spent the fraud proceeds on personal items that benefitted herself and her family, and to open another competing insurance agency.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.