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Florida Man Wanted in Family Slip-and-fall Scheme Is Awaiting Extradition in California

1/24/2005

CONTACT:
Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—A 30-year-old man wanted in Florida since 1995 on numerous felony charges for his alleged role in his family's nationwide "slip-and-fall" fraud scheme is in custody in California awaiting extradition.
 
Christopher Michael Evans, whose last-known Florida address was 5612 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, was arrested January 13 in Mountainview, California, on an unrelated charge.  He is the fifth member of the family, including his mother, to be apprehended. 
 
Two other suspects, identified as Russell Evans and Raquel Miller, remain at large.  The charges and arrests are the culmination of a lengthy investigation by Florida's Division of Insurance Fraud.
 
"Everyone pays for insurance fraud through increased premiums and increased costs for goods and services," said Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services and its Division of Insurance Fraud.   "This arrest shows that there is no safe haven for those who commit criminal acts against Floridians."
 
Florida has consistently produced the nation's highest number of insurance fraud arrests or convictions for each of the past several years.
 
Evans was believed to have been involved in a scheme to bilk insurance companies out of thousands of dollars by faking accidents in businesses in several states.  Evans is charged with racketeering, organized fraud, six counts of insurance fraud, and eight counts of grand theft. 
 
When arrested in California, Evans was using the alias Paul Frank Lyle and previously used the name Gino Ely in New York.  Florida insurance fraud investigators had listed Evans with the National Association of Bunco Investigators, which gathers intelligence on groups perpetrating scams, and that is how the Mountainview police traced Evans to Florida.
 
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 Busters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445.  A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.