Complex Situation

10269592 - injured male hand with upper part of body. hand is bandaged with red plaster focus set on thumb

A typical workers’ compensation fraud case either involves a worker who fakes an injury to receive benefits, an employee who double dips by working another job while collecting benefits, or an employer who fails to pay insurance premiums. Today’s case involves a Vero Beach, Florida man who had a sneezing attack that caused an auto accident. It also involves a few lies, a snitch, and two murders. You could say that today’s “Fraud of the Day” is a very interesting and complex situation involving workers’ compensation fraud.

Let’s start off by giving you a little background on today’s offender. The fraud article zeroes in on the Vero Beach man, who has a bit of a history with breaking the law. (That’s actually an understatement, especially because this man is a convicted felon.) The Floridian previously served time behind bars for an attempted murder that occurred at a Kissimmee motel during a botched robbery in the 1990s. More recently in 2017, he was charged with reckless driving in Vero Beach. He paid a $148 fine, $1,000 for property damage and completed a 4-hour basic driver improvement course. Oh, and by the way, he’s also a suspect in another murder case. (So, are you getting the picture? He’s not only a felon, but also a bad driver.)

The murder suspect got into more trouble in the summer of 2017 when he reportedly sneezed, then crashed into a guardrail. (I guess that driver improvement course didn’t help much. Maybe it didn’t address what to do when experiencing rapid fire sneezes.) He was airlifted to a nearby hospital, treated for his injuries and released. That’s when he filled out a workers’ compensation claim form stating that he had the car accident while on-the-job. His employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider paid the fraudster $137,070.30.

A year later, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received a tip that suggested the fraudster was not on his way to a work site on the morning of his accident as reported. (The tip revealed that he was really headed to court in a neighboring county to stand trial for multiple charges involving a previous arrest. If convicted, he would face substantial prison time.) That’s when the fraudster’s story fell apart.

The state trooper who arrived at the wreck told investigators that the injured man did not mention he was on his way to work when the accident occurred. (And, I’m sure he didn’t mention he was really on his way to court, either.) The man’s lawyer told investigators he was unable to get in touch with his client the day he failed to report to court. (Did no one follow up?) Apparently, on the day of the accident, the fraudster asked to have the day off, but he arrived at work early to tell his boss he was headed to complete a job site inspection that had actually occurred several days earlier.

The Vero Beach, Florida man was convicted of workers’ compensation fraud. (Because the amount of fraud was greater than $100,000, the crime is a felony.) He was also found guilty on the prior charges when he was absent from court. Amazingly, despite being charged with the battery of a law enforcement officer, he was sentenced to time served and five years of probation. The 50-year-old man is currently out on $20,000 bond as he awaits a sentencing for the current case. (I hope that the judge will have a simple, but fair sentence for the man involved in this very complex situation.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Curtis Huff Jr. charged with insurance fraud,” posted on on January 24, 2019.

A Vero Beach man who has served time for attempted murder and been a suspect in two others has been charged with insurance fraud greater than $100,000, a felony.

Curtis Huff Jr., 50, 955 32nd Ave. SW, was arrested for insurance fraud on Jan. 7 and released from Indian River County Jail after posting a $20,000 bond on Jan. 9, according to court records.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.