Miami-Dade School Bus Employees Used Kids' Personal Info in Fraud Scheme

A dozen Miami-Dade School District bus employees have been arrested after authorities say they used the personal information of children to file fraudulent insurance reimbursement claims worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Detectives discovered the 12 current and former employees submitted 68 fraudulent accident injury insurance claims to an insurance company between 2015 and 2018 worth some $426,000, Miami-Dade County Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced Friday.

The employees obtained legitimate medical records and shared the personal information of children who were previously treated at various medical facilities, enabling them to file insurance claims as if they were the parents of the children, Patronis said.

"Using the identities of innocent children to file fake insurance claims to make a quick buck is shameful. It is especially alarming when these individuals were responsible for the safety and security of children in their roles with the Miami-Dade School District," Patronis said in a statement. "Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime and drives up rates for every Florida household. I applaud my fraud detectives for working diligently to bring these scam artists to justice."

The suspects face charges including organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and false and fraudulent insurance claims.

"There can never be an excuse for insurance fraud. When public employees are a part of the problem and when public medical benefits are used to make the scheme work, these are shameful events. They are also crimes," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.

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