Two Broward County, Fla. women are facing felony charges for falsifying marriage documents to collect more than $100,000 in insurance death benefits.
According to Tom Gallagher, Florida’s CFO Deanna L. Brown attempted to collect on the estate of her deceased live-in boyfriend and is charged with two counts of perjury and one count each of insurance fraud and third-degree grand theft. The deceased’s sister Christal Caruso-Hansen is charged with one count of perjury.
The arrests were made earlier this week. Detectives with the Department of Financial Service, Division of Insurance Fraud, said that Brown and Caruso-Hansen conspired to falsely represent that Brown was married to Michael A. Caruso, Jr. at the time of his death on May 6, 2004.
“The proceeds should go to Caruso’s rightful heirs,” Gallagher said. Caruso had an ex-wife and two children.
Caruso died as a result of an accidental drug overdose complicated by diabetes at the Royal Palm Beach home he shared with Brown. In statements given to police officers at the scene, Brown said she was Caruso’s live-in girlfriend and fiancé and that they were intending to get married.
After Caruso’s death, Brown and Caruso-Hansen allegedly falsified marriage documents so that Brown could be appointed the personal representative of Caruso’s estate. Then, Brown, representing herself as the spouse of Caruso, filed a written claim for $109,000 in death benefits with Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company. To date, no payment has been made.
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