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Man Accused of Filing Fraudulent Workers’ Comp Claims for Nearly 10 Years

4/2/2007

CONTACT:  Nina Banister or Brannon Jordan
(850) 413-2842             
 
UMATILLA—Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced today the arrest of a man who allegedly filed fraudulent workers’ compensation claims for 10 years after being injured on a job that he got by using his deceased uncle’s social security card.  The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), began investigating a tip that the man was working while collecting disability benefits. 
 
Guillermo Villasano, also known as Miguel Villasario, 47, of Umatilla, was arrested last week following an investigation by DIF on charges of workers’ compensation fraud, criminal use of personal identification information, and perjury in an official proceeding.   If convicted of the charges, he faces up to 25 years in prison in addition to possible fines and restitution.
 
“Workers’ compensation fraud robs the system of funds to help those who are truly injured and need it,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the department.  “We will not tolerate anyone taking advantage of and defrauding our citizens.”
 
On June 5, 1996, Villasano reportedly sustained multiple head injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident during the course of his employment with Horace Bell Honey Company in Deland.  In a deposition Villasano denied he had been working since the accident, but surveillance video shows him working at Bill Rhodes Honey Company in Umatilla.  He was arrested last Tuesday while working at the company and was booked into the Volusia County Jail.
 
The investigation also determined that Villasano had used the name and social security number of his deceased uncle, Miguel Villasario, to apply for jobs and workers’ compensation benefits.  From October 1996 to May 2006, Villasano was paid more than $43,000 in disability benefits.
 
The charges are being prosecuted in Volusia County by the State Attorney’s Office in the 7th Judicial Circuit of Florida.  Det. Ruthell Harris was DIF’s lead detective.
 
The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates fraud in all types of insurance, including health, life, auto, and property and workers’ compensation. To report information about this case or another possible insurance fraud case, call the departments’ fraud hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading to a conviction.
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.