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Palatka Man Charged with Grand Theft


TALLAHASSEE -- A Palatka man has been charged with grand theft for collecting $10,000 in workers' compensation benefits after he apparently lied in a deposition about his ability to work. A videotape made during undercover surveillance showed him working on a roof.

Jack Burkes Jr., age 43, 111 Davis Lake Road, was arrested Wednesday on the third-degree felony following an investigation by the Florida Department of Insurance, Division of Fraud.

Burkes claimed he injured his thumb in June 1998 while he was working for Doyle Development Co. He had collected more than $33,554 when Stirling Cooke Insurance Co., of Sarasota, initiated undercover surveillance last March.

On March 27 and 28, Burkes was captured on video repairing a roof and swinging a hammer with his right and left hands. Eight days later in a deposition on April 5, Burkes testified that he had not performed certain activities including using a hammer.

State investigators were assisted in making the arrest by Putnam County Sheriff's Office. The case will be tried in Putnam County by the State Attorney's Office in the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida.

The Department of Insurance, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance. Anyone with information about this case or another possible fraud scheme should call the Department's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading to a conviction.