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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXXXVII

A Tampa area mother fakes her daughter's death in order to collect money. Sound original? Not really, unless you consider she did a similar fraud several years earlier involving her husband, and has pending charges involving a similar scheme to defraud involving a dead non-existent sister. Three times the charm I guess. Don't you just love Florida?

Note- I'm using the Tampa Tribune article, rather than Associated Press. AP's reporting on Fontalvo is way different than the Trib's. Based on past history, I'll go with the local paper.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Leaning Straight Up, Perri Nelson, Pursuing Holiness,

TAMPA - Osteopathic doctor Luis A. Ycaza thought he knew his patient well.

After treating Jean Rodriguez Fontalvo for about three months, Ycaza was saddened to hear that her 13-year-old daughter had died of cancer and Fontalvo did not have the money to bury her.

'We were going to give her a check,' the doctor recalled.

But her story was a lie, along with the death certificate she produced to corroborate her tale, Tampa police said.

Detectives arrested Fontalvo at Ycaza's office Tuesday after she collected a $500 check from him during an undercover operation - with her daughter, alive and well, waiting in the parking lot.

Now investigators are searching for others she might have snookered.

'If other people have given her money, we would definitely like to hear from them,' economic crimes Sgt. Paul Mumford said.

Mumford said Fontalvo, 40, doctored a death certificate from an actual person, typing in her daughter's name and a puzzling birth date of Jan. 24 of this year, making the girl seven months old. She also showed off her daughter's photograph and passed around a written request for donations on the letterhead of a local funeral parlor, he said.

The daughter was with her grandmother Tuesday evening, Mumford said. Police do not think the girl knew about the ruse.

Mumford did not know how much money Fontalvo might have collected. He did not say what other businesses she had visited but said they were health professionals.

Police charged Fontalvo with felony uttering a forged instrument, felony scheme to defraud, felony grand theft and a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She was held on $12,000 bail at Orient Road Jail on Tuesday afternoon.

Wearing a yellow T-shirt with the word 'Princess' on the front, Fontalvo had nothing to say as detectives led her in handcuffs to a police car.

'It's just unbelievable,' Ycaza said after her arrest. 'You literally feel raped. Just completely cheated. Speechless. Heartbroken for the little girl. ... It's amazing how anyone could potentially use the name of her own daughter to literally violate a basic instinct of humanity.'

A woman who identified herself as Fontalvo's mother declined to speak to a reporter at Fontalvo's apartment at 10935 N. Brittany Lane in Tampa. 'I've been through a lot today,' the woman said, starting to cry.

Public records show Fontalvo previously has faked a relative's death for profit. In 2003, she was sentenced to two years in a state prison after receiving $15,000 from a life-insurance policy for her still-living husband, investigators said.

She is awaiting trial this month for faking a death certificate for a nonexistent sister in an attempt to collect $20,000 on another life-insurance policy, investigators said.

Florida Department of Corrections records show she has been incarcerated or under community supervision since 1990 for check fraud, grand theft, forgery, uttering a forged instrument, fraudulent use of personal identification and organized fraud.

Ycaza, who runs the Injury Care Institute at 4107 N. Himes Ave., said it was this criminal record that made him suspicious.

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