Volume 1 Number 10
March 8, 2004









 

 

GMA

DEPARTMENT’S FRAUD EFFORTS HIGHLIGHTED IN NEWS REPORT

Good Morning America recently highlighted the Florida Department of Financial Services’ success in getting convictions in insurance fraud cases.

The report, aired last Wednesday, focused on the arrest and conviction of a Lake City couple who had ripped off their workers’ compensation carrier for almost 10 years.  Bruce and Alice Gilbert almost got away with collecting more than  $750,000 based on fraudulent claims filed with the Florida League of Cities.

Bruce Gilbert was a bus driver for Sun Coast Transit Authority in Pinellas County, Florida, when he slipped and fell on the job in 1987.  Three years later he filed for disability.  His wife claimed that as a result of the fall he suffered from a disorder that caused him to revert to the mentality of a child about five years old.  The Gilberts collected disability payments, including payments to Mrs. Gilbert for care she claimed she provided.

In a plea agreement, the Gilberts were sentenced to 15 years’ probation each, with one year of community control, and ordered to pay more than $770,000 in restitution and investigative costs.  They were adjudicated guilty on charges of workers’ compensation fraud and grand theft in the first degree.

The Gilberts would have collected more than $1.4 million in insurance payments, if they had not been stopped in following through on a lawsuit for an additional $700,000.

In surveillance video collected during the investigation, Bruce Gilbert was filmed carrying a gun and driving, but in an interview with investigators he said he read “baby books” and that he rarely ventured far from home.  He was arrested while playing in a golf tournament, and his wife was taken into custody at a local bingo hall.

The Good Morning America report noted that the department’s Division of Insurance Fraud leads the nation in insurance fraud convictions, according to a recent study issued by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.