Orange County deputy accused of insurance fraud in crash involving deer

CFO says insurance fraud drives up rates

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor
Associated Press

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County deputy is accused of lying on an automobile insurance claim after he crashed into a deer, according to Florida's chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis.

Officials said deputy Wadih Ojeil was driving his 2012 Ford Mustang on July 6, 2018, when he hit a deer then and after the crash, called Geico to add comprehensive coverage to his existing insurance policy. He specifically asked if the addition to his policy would apply to a crash involving a deer, according to a news release.

On July 10, the day after the new coverage went into effect, Ojeil called Geico to report he'd just hit a deer, officials said.

Patronis said Ojeil admitted to filing a fraudulent claim and adding the extra insurance coverage after his vehicle had already been damaged.

“Not only is filing false insurance claims illegal, but it drives up insurance rates for hardworking Floridians. This deputy swore to uphold and protect the law, but instead, he committed fraud for personal gain. No matter who you are, my fraud detectives will find you and you will be held accountable,” Patronis said.

Ojeil was arrested Feb. 15 on a charge of filing a fraudulent insurance claim. He faces up to five years in prison if he's convicted.

Officials from the Orange County Sheriff's Office said Ojeil was relieved of all law enforcement powers and assigned to an administrative position on Sept. 11, 2018 when the department became aware that he was under investigation. After his arrest, he was suspended without pay.

An internal investigation will take place once the criminal case is concluded.

"At the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, we hold our deputies to the highest ethical standards whether they are on duty or off duty. We are committed to serving this community with integrity and ensuring that any alleged misconduct is thoroughly investigated and that the results of that investigation are made public," Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.

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