Central Florida Man Who Lied About On-the-Job Injury Lands in Jail
Contact: Ashley Carr
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS), which operates under the direction of CFO Jeff Atwater, today announced the arrest of Orlando resident Ricardo Aponte on workers’ compensation fraud charges following an elaborate scam involving an alleged on-the-job injury. Aponte claimed to have suffered a work-related neck injury that prevented him from bending his body and prohibited him from working. As a result, Aponte’s employer paid more than $500,000 in medical and lost-wage costs related to the supposed injury.
After the employer’s insurance company raised suspicions that Aponte might be lying, DIFS insurance fraud detectives launched an investigation to verify the legitimacy of Aponte’s claim and to learn more about his day-to-day activities.
The investigation revealed that Aponte’s injury was first reported in January 2007. During the course of the claim, he received medical treatments from multiple physicians and was provided a motorized wheelchair and a cane to assist with the pain he suffered in his back, legs, and upper torso. Years later, in May 2016, Aponte again swore under oath that he could not work and that the assistance of medical equipment was required to perform even the simplest day-to-day tasks.
However, insurance fraud investigators secured video surveillance that proved otherwise. On multiple occasions, Aponte was seen moving about without the support of any medical devices whatsoever. In one instance, Aponte was recorded cleaning his boat and preparing it for travel. In another, he was seen physically pushing the boat off its trailer and into the water.
He was arrested and taken to the Orange County Jail. He has been charged with workers’ compensation fraud, false statements in support of a claim, false and fraudulent insurance claims, and grand theft. This case will be prosecuted by the Office of State Attorney Jeffrey L. Ashton and if convicted, Aponte could be forced to repay his employer in full, pay a $10,000 fine and spend up to 30 years in prison.
(Surveillance video footage is available upon request.)
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, and is a member of the Florida Cabinet. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).