After a woman was injured by a falling sprinkler head, she insisted that she receive compensation. However, just when she thought she would be getting a nice payday, investigators played the surveillance camera footage.
Americans have insurance to protect them from just about anything that can go wrong. Unsurprisingly, this often attracts some fraudsters who wish to get their hands on unearned compensation by whatever means necessary. This was the case for Sheyla Veronica White.
When White saw a faulty sprinkler head drop from the ceiling onto her desk, she saw an opportunity to collect a big payout. Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t the only one watching her criminal scheme unfold.
While working away on her computer at a desk job in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sheyla Veronica White was interrupted when a sprinkler head dropped from the ceiling, landing just feet away. Initially, she was shocked by the incident, reaching for the metal fixture and looking up to see the location from which it had fallen.
However, White’s disbelief quickly turned into an ah-ha moment when she realized that she could use the occurrence to her advantage. She picked up the sprinkler and bashed herself in the head with it, giving herself a nasty gash in order to stage a workplace injury.
Hoping to cash out with a case of workers’ compensation, White filed an incident report with her insurance. Within weeks, it was appearing as if she would soon be receiving a nice settlement for her fraudulent efforts. Of course, that was until investigators reviewed the security camera footage.
Instead of receiving financial compensation, White was arrested and charged with workers’ compensation fraud, which is a third-degree felony, WSVN 7 reported. Ironically, White barely had time to recover from her self-inflicted injury before she was led away in handcuffs and photographed for her mugshot by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
White was sentenced to 18 months of probation for her crime. Luckily, she wasn’t required to pay restitution since she was caught before she could collect any payments from her insurance company.
White was exposed when her employer’s insurance company grew suspicious about the incident and contacted Florida’s Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, according to FOX 13. It was then that detectives obtained security camera footage, proving that White had faked the injury.
LT. Doreen Rivera explained that, while this particular crime seems to be a victimless one, it is this abuse that hurts other employees. When it comes to workers’ comp, employees are legally required to obtain insurance, and fraudulent claims cause their coverage cost to increase.
“Not having it is a felony and not having it is serious. And why is it serious? Because if a worker gets injured on the job and there’s no coverage, they’re going to have to cover their own medical costs and those medical bills can, you know, be staggering,” Lt. Rivera explained, adding her department has found the major abusers to be in the construction industry.
Employees aren’t the only ones scamming insurance companies. In fact, businesses often lie about how many workers they employ or pay a fee to “shell companies” in order to abuse their workers’ compensation insurance instead of purchasing their own for their employees.
“It’s well identified down south and now it’s emerging here. And that is basically when a business is created for the purposes for taking out a minimal workers’ comp policy,” she said.
When an insurance company is defrauded, the cost trickles down to businesses, employees, and eventually to its consumers. Sadly, everyone else pays the price for these scams, making the cost of products and insurance rise. The only ones who win in these scenarios are the fraudsters who don’t get caught.
Disturbingly, White is just one of countless scammers who attempt to cash out with a fraudulent claim at the expense of everyone else. Fortunately, the only reward she’ll be receiving is a felony on her record, warning other employers of the risk in hiring her.