On Wednesday, April 12th, ABC News Channel 9 discussed the pivotal role Command Investigations played in the dismissal of the workers’ compensation claim presented by Ricardo Aponte, who was arrested on December 19, 2016 on the suspicion of insurance fraud.
On March 22, 2017, the State of Florida Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (JCC) ruled that Ricardo Aponte’s claims for benefits, costs and attorney’s fees set forth with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) have been denied with prejudice because “the statements made by the claimant in his deposition are objective misstatements when viewed in the light of the video surveillance (obtained by Command Investigations).” To date, Aponte has collected more than $500,000 in benefits.
He was injured on the job in 2007, and shortly after his alleged injuries he reported that he had no range of motion, had difficulty walking more than 30 yards at a time and needed a motor scooter to get around. Despite Aponte receiving workers’ compensation benefits for nearly 10 years as a result of his alleged injuries, Command obtained several hours of footage of Aponte getting in and out of his boat with ease, performing maintenance on his boat and hitching his boat to his truck.
Further, the JCC ruled that Aponte’s activity was inconsistent with descriptions he made during his deposition, and they found no evidence to support him needing a handicapped equipped van or a hot tub to assist him with his injuries.
Based on the surveillance, Aponte clearly violated Florida Statute 440.105, as he intentionally misled medical professionals and his insurance company to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
In an interview with ABC’s Janine Reyes, Steve Cassell, President & CEO of Command Investigations stated “I think his guard was down, and the perfect timing was there (to document his activities).”
As part of its Restitution Management Program™, Command Investigations will monitor the criminal proceedings and work in conjunction with the state attorney’s office to best ensure Aponte is ordered to pay enforceable restitution.
Command Investigations, LLC is the preferred provider of surveillance, SIU & anti-fraud programming, Claims Buzz™ social media investigations and monthly monitoring, iNQuest™ medical canvasses and background investigations to the insurance defense community.