CFO Alex Sink photo

Volume 4 Number 11
March 16, 2007

WASHINGTON COUNTY WOMAN ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FRAUD, PERJURY

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the arrest of a Washington County woman on charges of workers’ compensation fraud and perjury in an official proceeding. Laura Harrell Coleman, 57, allegedly created and submitted false time sheets to the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust (FMIT) to receive nearly $340,000 in workers’ compensation reimbursement.

Coleman was arrested Thursday in Washington County. The charges stem from an investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) and are being prosecuted in Washington County by the State Attorney’s Office. DIF’s case agent was Detective Selaina Porter. If convicted on the charges, Coleman faces up to 30 years in prison, in addition to fines and restitution.

“This woman was knowingly and systematically exploiting a system set up to help Floridians in need,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “This office is committed to protecting Floridians and their pocketbooks from these types of crimes.”  CONTINUED

Coleman’s husband, a sanitation worker for the City of Chipley, was injured during the course of employment. Because the City of Chipley is a member of the Florida League of Cities, Coleman’s husband was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, including attendant care reimbursement, from FMIT. Evidence showed that between October 3, 1999, and April 16, 2006, Coleman created and printed attendant care time sheets that contained false time documentations regarding hours worked by her husband’s attendant care provider. She allegedly signed the attendant care provider’s name on the time sheets without the provider’s knowledge and then submitted those false time sheets to FMIT for reimbursement. Coleman’s actions caused FMIT to pay approximately $339,248 in attendant care benefits to which Coleman was not entitled.

The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance. Anyone with information about this case or any other suspected fraud case is asked to call the department's Fraud Fighters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
 


 

CFO SINK ANNOUNCES STATE-OF-THE-ART INTERVIEW RECORDING SYSTEM, TO INCREASE FRAUD CONVICTION RATES

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that a new state-of-the-art interview recording system is now being used in the Miami regional office of the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud. The new recording system is expected to increase conviction rates by providing law enforcement officers and the courts with more accurate and complete evidence of statements made to investigators by witnesses and offenders.

“The implementation of a high-tech recording system is another innovative way my office is working to protect Floridians by holding people who commit fraud accountable,” said CFO Sink who oversees the Department of Financial Services. “Prosecuting fraud more efficiently will help increase conviction rates and protect Floridians from financial crimes.” CONTINUED

The CaseCracker Interview Management System may be used to digitally record audio and video of law enforcement interviews in their entirety. The system will also make it easier to share and transfer recorded interviews with other law enforcement entities in joint investigations. In addition, the new recording system is expected to save time in case preparation and interview reviewing.

The Miami office is home to the division’s largest fraud prosecution unit. Last year alone, the Miami fraud office was responsible for 300 of the state’s nearly 800 fraud arrests.

The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance. Anyone with information about suspected insurance fraud is asked to call the department's Fraud Fighters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.