DEFENDANTS JOHN AND HEATH RITENOUR FACE CIVIL RACKETEERING CHARGES AND MULTIPLE LAWSUITS ALLEGING FRAUDULENTLY STOLEN INSURANCE COMMISSIONS
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, December 16, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Farrow Law Firm, Brach Eichler and Cooper Levenson have filed separate complaints against Longwood, Florida based Insurance Office of America Inc. (IOA) and individuals John Ritenour and Heath Ritenour which claims Plaintiffs were defrauded out of rightfully owed insurance commissions in the States of New Jersey and Florida.
The allegations in the Florida lawsuit include CIVIL RACKETEERING (“RICO”) and that RICO Defendants John Ritenour and Heath Ritenour conspired in a well-orchestrated criminal scheme to steal licensed agent accounts in order to enrich themselves and the stock price of their company.
From these alleged illegal actions, IOA misappropriated commissions owed to independent insurance agents such as Plaintiffs Scott Strenger, Rick Collins and Louis Spagnuolo, as well as many others resulting in a “Ponzi” like scheme to artificially inflate its stock valuation.
According to the Florida lawsuit, these RICO Defendants coordinated the affairs of this RICO Enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity that consisted of repeated violations of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes, money laundering, securities fraud and tax evasion with the intent to defraud Plaintiff and their unsuspecting IOA Employees.
“These complaints encompass a wide-spread epidemic that has been allegedly going for many years without boundaries,” said Jay Farrow of the Farrow Law Firm. “These acts affect not one, two or three victims, but rather a startling amount of current and past employees.”
According to one of the lawsuits in New Jersey, there was a culture with IOA that utilized unlicensed agents to defraud and discriminate against its victims which allegedly violated New Jersey laws designed to protect against such unlicensed activity.
“By the looks of it, the Plaintiffs in New Jersey were fraudulently induced to enter a corrupt culture that rewarded unlicensed activity while they were being defrauded out of substantial earned commissions”, said attorney Farrow. “Clearly with these three similar lawsuits, it isn’t hard to see the pattern of illicit behavior on the part of IOA and the Ritenours.”
The investigations continue to expand in both breadth and scope within the alleged RICO Enterprise of IOA and are now focused on additional co-conspirators according to Farrow.
Farrow concluded, “We have yet to see the bottom of this rabbit hole and look forward to justice being served as we are learning more about the alleged RICO Defendants, the associated Insurance Carriers and other co-conspirators that had fiduciary responsibilities to report illegal activities.”
Three corporations allege a Florida insurance brokerage collected millions in unauthorized commissions.
Executive Affiliates Inc., Executive Hotel Management Inc. and Capital Fitness Inc. filed a complaint on June 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division against Insurance Office of America Inc. and Mark A. Manfre alleging breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and other counts.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that in their 20-year relationship with the defendants, Manfre billed them for double commissions in violation of Illinois law. They allege they learned of the scheme in April.
The plaintiffs allege the defendants failed to detect and allowing Manfre to collect unauthorized commissions.
The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek to recover unauthorized and unearned commissions paid to Manfre in an amount of at least $2.8 million, plus prejudgment interest, costs, and such other and further relief as this court deems appropriate in the circumstances. They are represented by Theodore R. Tetzlaff and James D. Benak of Tetzlaff Law Offices LLC in Chicago, Illinois.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division case number 1:18-cv-04343