Multiple Slips And Falls Lead To Fraud Charges
Slip and fall accidents happen often, so when a person is involved in one, nobody bats an eye. But when a person falls four times in a seven-year period, it becomes suspicious.
A 53-year-old man from Lauderhill was arrested in early July for a slip and fall incident that he reported in February 2020, almost 2 ½ years ago. He and his cousin were allegedly involved in a scheme to defraud various businesses.
The man entered a Publix store in Tamarac on the evening of February 12, 2020 and fell in aisle seven. The man alleged that he was putting a beverage in his cart when he stepped on a weight and string attached to a Valentine’s Day helium balloon. He then slipped and fell to the floor, hurting his leg, ankle, and back. A witness told store employees he saw the man fall down. The witness had entered the store and gone straight to aisle seven.
The store manager called paramedics, who treated the man. The witness helped the man fill out the store’s slip and fall incident report. After the two left Publix, the manager reviewed surveillance video and it was clear that the incident was staged. The man was seen carefully positioning the balloon weight with his foot. He then held onto a shelf and a shopping cart before lowering himself to the floor—not slipping and falling.
The video showed the witness entering the store moments later and going straight to aisle seven. When he saw the man on the floor, he called for help.
The man asked Publix to pay for a $400,000 injury claim for pain and suffering. The man and the witness—who turned out to be the man’s cousin— lived together. This was not the first time the two had planned a slip and fall scheme. In a deposition in November 2021, the man admitted to several previous slip and fall cases.
The slips and falls began in August 2015, when the man allegedly slipped and fell on some water in a Red Lobster restroom. His cousin happened to be at the establishment when the slip and fall occurred. The man received an undisclosed financial settlement.
Later that year, the man was involved in another slip and fall accident. This time, he fell inside a Winn-Dixie supermarket. The man did not receive a financial settlement this time.
In 2017, there was another slip and fall in a Publix. This time, the man allegedly slipped on a piece of paper. The man couldn’t remember if he received a financial settlement.
The man was arrested and taken to Broward County Jail. He was later released on a $3,500 bond. He admitted to staging the most recent fall and claimed that his cousin was in on the insurance fraud.
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Slips and falls are often serious events when they truly happen unexpectedly. When fraud occurs, the “victim” can face criminal charges and harsh punishment.
If you have been involved in a slip and fall, contact the Florida slip & fall attorneys at Meldon Law. These cases can be complex, so seek legal help right away. Call (800) 373-8000 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation. We have three offices to serve you: Gainesville, Ocala, and Fort Lauderdale.