Former Manatee jail clerk charged with worker's comp fraud

jdeleon@bradenton.comAugust 22, 2013 

MANATEE -- A 68-year-old woman is facing charges she filed a fraudulent worker's compensation claim despite having a pre-existing condition.

Janet Heffington was arrested at 7 a.m. Wednesday at her home on the 3900 block of Pinebrook Circle in Bradenton.

Heffington is facing charges of worker's compensation fraud and perjury.

Charges were filed by the State Attorney's Office after an investigation by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. Heffington allegedly had a pre-existing condition when she filed a worker's compensation claim and then lied about it in a court record. The date she filed her worker's comp claim was not reported nor was the company she worked for when it was filed.

Heffington will appear before a Manatee County Judge Thursday afternoon and remains in the Manatee County Jail with no bond.

Attorney Gregory Hagopain would not comment on the charges but said he would be in the courtroom for her first appearance. Hagopain defended Heffington on previous charges but is unsure if he will be handling the current case.

In 2011, Heffington also faced fraud charges when she was arrested for exploiting an elderly person out of more than $100,000. Heffington allegedly befriended an 88-year-old widow with dementia in her condominium complex, gained her trust and power of attorney and then took advantage when the elderly woman went to live at an assisted living facility.

The family of the victim reported the alleged fraud to the Adult Protection Services, which then investigated.

The State Attorney's Office did not file charges then, however, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Heffington, formerly a property clerk at the Manatee County jail, was terminated in early 2011 for reasons unrelated to the criminal charges against her.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.

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