March 30, 2017. The State of Florida Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims recently ruled that Ricardo Aponte’s claims for medical benefits, costs, and attorney’s fees set forth in the petitions for benefits filed with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) on February 19, 2016, March 1, 2016 and August 31, 2016, are denied with prejudice. Under Florida Statutes 440.09(4)(a) and 440.105(4)(b), Aponte is barred from receiving any further benefits for this claim.
Following an accident in January of 2007, Aponte reported to his physician that he had no range of motion and needed a motor scooter for transportation. He stated he used a walking stick at all times, utilized a motor scooter every day, couldn’t bend his body and needed a wheelchair van because he couldn’t walk further than 30 yards at a time.
However, Command obtained approximately four (4) hours of surveillance which was highlighted by ABC News in January of 2017. The video documented Aponte entering and exiting his truck without distress, performing maintenance on his boat, hitching his boat trailer to his truck, getting in and out of the boat without assistance, refueling the boat at a gas station, driving the boat to a launch site, launching the boat and various other activities.
The JCC determined Aponte’s activity was inconsistent with the descriptions he made during his deposition of his activities and limitations, and found no evidence that he needed a handicapped equipped van or hot tub to assist him with his alleged injuries.
Per the JCC’s Final Compensation Order, “the statements made by the claimant in his deposition are objective misstatements when viewed in the light of the video surveillance.”
After obtaining a significant amount of impactful surveillance, Command’s SIU Department submitted a referral to the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) in mid-2016, based on material misrepresentation, as required under Florida Statutes 626.9891 and 440.105.
Aponte was arrested for insurance fraud on December 19, 2016, in Orange County, Florida, and charged with the following:
- Workers’ Compensation Fraud
- False & Fraudulent Insurance Claims
- Perjury in Official Proceedings
- First Degree Grand Theft
Click here to view the State of Florida Judges of Compensation Claims entire final compensation order: https://www.jcc.state.fl.us/JCCDocs20/ORL/Orange/2007/003989/07003989_229_03282017_04523622_i.pdf.
ABC’s news story and the initial press release regarding the arrest of Ricardo Aponte can be found here: http://gocommand.com/ricardo-aponte-arrested-insurance-fraud/.
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