Miami school bus workers used kids’ information for false insurance claims, state says

Shanequa Latoya Veal
Shanequa Latoya Veal Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation

Twelve current and former Miami-Dade County Public Schools bus workers used children’s information to make false insurance claims with payouts totaling over $400,000, state officials say.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced the arrests in a press release Friday. According to the release, fraud detectives found that the dozen bus workers submitted 68 fraudulent accident injury insurance claims to an insurance company using the same injury accident information between 2015 and 2018.

Investigators said the employees obtained legitimate medical records supplied by participants in the scheme and shared the personal information of children who were previously treated at various medical facilities. The employees then used that information to file insurance claims posing as parents of the children.

It is not clear if those children were students in the school district.

A total of $426,933 was paid out, according to the press release.

The alleged ringleader of the movement is Shanequa Latoya Veal, though the press release did not elaborate on her involvement. According to her arrest form, Veal submitted a claim on June 24, 2015, for injuries to a child, who wasn’t her own, from a March 1, 2015, hit-and-run car accident that occurred as the child was walking from his grandma’s house.

Veal allegedly submitted another claim on June 30, 2015, stating that another son and his brother were both hit by a car and airlifted to the hospital where her son stayed one day in trauma care.

Six months later, an investigator discovered similarities between the two claims. Only the patient identification number, account number and unit number were different. Investigators probed more of Veal’s account with AFLAC and found other similarities.

Investigators said they found more than 30 transfers into her bank account from other bank members. They said Veal created 52 claims that were filed and paid, totaling $357,063, and received $120,000 in cash and wire transfers from other AFLAC insurance members.

Veal was arrested and booked into Turner Guilford Night Correctional Center along with Sylvia Albertha Nickle, Davina Renee Stephens, Charlie Griffin III, Keyonna Lacrice McCown-Persaud, Ruby Ray Carter, Evette Nicole Woodard, Shevet Walker Mabry, Alma Denise Jackson, Regina Cettali Johnson, Gervanna Vikers, and Shenna Denise Lewis.

All were charged with organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, and false and fraudulent insurance claims.

According to Nickle’s arrest form, the only other arrest form made available by the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, investigators said they noticed several claims that were submitted by several policy holders with duplicate claims for the same dependent.

On December 28, 2016, an electronic deposit payment by AFLAC for $5,710 was deposited into Nickle’s account. She withdrew $3,300 in cash from the account on the same day, according to the arrest form.

Though Nickle denied filing claims on any child other than her own two, she said she gave her AFLAC account login information to a person named Shanequa Gamble. When investigators asked her why she would share that information, she said “to get money.”

Investigators said they found seven names, claims and monetary amounts paid to Nickle totaling $63,140.