Volume 2 Number 22
May 30, 2005



Two Broward County men are facing felony fraud charges after a state investigation determined they staged an accident in January and then filed fraudulent insurance claims for injuries that did not occur.

Jesse Demetro, 20, of Hallandale, and Anthony Nicholas, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, are each facing charges of organized scheme to defraud, insurance fraud and second-degree grand theft.  Demetro was arrested Tuesday and Nicholas on May 18.  The charges follow an investigation by the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud.  If convicted on the charges, each will face up to 50 years in prison.

“This is a rampant and costly crime that affects every Floridian,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the department.  “We are going to continue to go after every suspect and, when we find evidence of a crime, bring them to justice.” 

Detectives said they found that Demetro and Nicholas conspired and participated in a staged accident on January 27, 2004, in Broward County, and then both got tests and treatment at Plantation General Hospital.  As a result, they also filed an insurance claim for medical expenses with Republic Western Insurance Company and received benefits totaling more than $12,800.  They also filed a claim for more than $17,000 in damage to a 2003 Mercedes Benz.

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 another possible fraud scheme should call the department's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.  A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Lake County, the 43rd county, was established  May 27, 1887, being taken from Orange and Sumter counties and named for the large number of lakes within its boundaries. The courthouse, above, was built in 1924.