Florida Teacher Accused of Staging Accident in $15K Insurance Fraud Scheme

A Florida elementary school teacher was arrested on multiple felony charges including insurance fraud and organized scheme to defraud for allegedly staging a fake car accident in a local Publix parking lot, according to a statement from Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis.

Lanfranco Palman of Kissimmee, Fla., claimed to have been hit by a vehicle as he was walking in front of the grocery store but witnesses later testified that he allegedly jumped or fell onto the hood of a stopped car.

An investigation by CFO Patronis’ fraud detectives revealed Palman was allegedly never struck by the vehicle as he claimed, and two independent witnesses testified the vehicle was stopped at the time, allowing Palman to cross the lane of traffic. Witnesses said that while passing in front of the vehicle, Palman allegedly fell or jumped onto the hood of the car.

On August 12, 2016, Palman filed an insurance claim with Auto Owners Insurance Co. for injuries he claimed to have sustained because he was hit by the vehicle. The insurance company was later billed a total of $15,475 for his fraudulent treatment.

Palman was arrested and booked into Osceola County Jail on charges of Organized Scheme to Defraud, a second degree felony, false and fraudulent insurance claim (Intentional Motor Vehicle Crash), a second degree felony, and filing a false and fraudulent insurance claim, a third degree felony. If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison.

“In 2018, there were 9,300 pedestrian crashes. An estimated 25 percent of staged accident referrals were criminally investigated. Staged automobile accidents happen too often in Florida, and they drive up car insurance rates for honest motorists,” Patronis said.

 

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services

Ishmael Kodjoe

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