TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Attorney Genera…

TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Attorney General Charlie Crist today sued a Florida corporation and its owner for selling fraudulent contracts for home health care services to senior Floridians. Clearwater-based Intrust Home Care and its president, Roy F. Fitzgerald, are accused of taking more than $146,000
from several dozen elderly Florida residents despite never contracting or
paying for any of the home care services they promised to provide.

The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed this morning in Leon County
Circuit Court, alleges that Intrust and Fitzgerald sold what were purported
to be contracts for home care services, such as dressing, laundry, bathing
and housekeeping. Investigators determined that Fitzgerald promised the
services but never contracted for anyone to actually provide those
services, and failed to maintain reserves to pay for the services should
they be needed. Intrust routinely imposed a 6- to 12-month waiting period
before the services would be provided, and in at least four instances the
victims died before the waiting period had elapsed.

Senior victims in Florida, and others in California, Virginia and
Illinois, paid for contracts at annual rates ranging from approximately
$700 to more than $7,600. Other services Intrust was supposed to provide
included meals, toileting, grooming, excursions and mobility assistance.
Contract holders were also told falsely that they could order home
companions through Intrust.

“It is bad enough to make senior citizens wait for one year to
receive services they paid for, but we now know they would have waited the
rest of their lives to ever have their laundry done or houses cleaned,”
said Crist. “This is unconscionable behavior.”

Although the contracts appeared similar to insurance and home health
care contracts, they were not, at the time, regulated by any state agency.

Typical of those victimized by Fitzgerald and his company is Doris
Williams. The 88-year-old Leesburg resident contracted with Intrust for
home health services, paying more than $3,000. At some point after she
purchased the contract, Williams fell and seriously injured her wrist.
Believing she could use the services for which she had contracted, Williams
tried contacting Intrust but received no response for a year. She finally
contacted the Attorney General?s Office and filed a complaint against the
company.

The case will be litigated by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes
Division. The state is seeking a permanent injunction stopping Intrust from
issuing any further insurance-like contracts, and is asking the court to
require the company to pay refunds to the victims and pay penalties, costs
and fees. Fitzgerald faces possible penalties of up to $915,000 plus
restitution.

A copy of the Attorney General?s complaint against Intrust and
Fitzgerald is available at:
http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-6KWHRF/$file/Intrust_Complaint.pdf

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