TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The former CEO of a Tampa animal charity is set to serve 15 months in prison for his latest scheme, the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Albert Adams was convicted in 2018 of defrauding donors to his Soaring Paws charity. Authorities said he had requested donations to help fly abused animals to new homes, but used the money raised to cover his own personal expenses.
While on probation, investigators say Adams filed false pet insurance claims and received nearly $13,000 for veterinary surgical procedures that were never performed. The insurance provider, Health Paws, uncovered the deception and contacted law enforcement. Investigators say he had filed nine false claims for nonexistent procedures between March 4 and April 8, 2020.
“The idea was that he would fly pets that were in need of medical help or who were in shelters that were going to be killed to someone who wanted to adopt them and he did that, but he also took a chunk of the donations and used them for his own personal expenses,” said Grayson Kamm with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s office.
On Wednesday, Adams pleaded guilty to one count of organized fraud less than $20,000, and nine counts of false statement in support of an insurance claim less than $20,000.
Before he begins his sentence, Adams will be transported to the Lee County Jail, where he has another case pending against him after allegedly trying to sell a woman a nonexistent dog for $575.
The Boyette Animal Hospital says fraud like this hurts anyone who is legitimately trying to care for a pet.
“It will raise your insurance premiums over time because the more fraud out there more that your bills are going to go up,” said Jenny Stolberg with Boyette Animal Hospital..
“This con man pled guilty because we built such a strong case against him with our law enforcement partners,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said. “He has preyed on the huge hearts of dog lovers. Once again, he’ll face serious consequences for his scams—with time behind bars.”