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St. Johns Sheriff’s Deputy Accused of $60,000 Insurance Fraud Off Late Ex-Wife’s Benefits

| October 29, 2015

'Unfortunately, during my 15 years as a law enforcement chief executive officer, this is not the first time that I have had to arrest one of my own employees,' Sheriff David Shoar said. (Facebook)

‘Unfortunately, during my 15 years as a law enforcement chief executive officer, this is not the first time that I have had to arrest one of my own employees,’ Sheriff David Shoar said. (Facebook)

Detectives with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office arrested one of their own today: Shane Tolerico, 43, turned himself in on an arrest warrant accusing him of grand theft. He was booked at the St. Johns County jail. He is charged with defrauding St. Johns County of over $60,000 in insurance claims.


Detectives began an investigation nearly a month ago when a sheriff’s employee became suspicious after the deputy attempted to obtain death benefits on his 45-year-old wife Natalie, who had died in September. The benefit is provided to employees and their qualified spouse.

But a review of documents showed that Tolerico had divorced. The sheriff’s office’s news release states that they divorced in July of 2013. But that divorce was documented in the St. Augustine Record on Sept. 4, 2011.

In addition, a sheriff’s office news release states, he falsified documents during annual benefits open enrollment sessions by confirming his marital status was unchanged. That enabled him to receive out of pocket savings of about $14,000, by passing those costs onto the county. Equivalent and continuous coverage was still available at a slightly higher cost following the divorce. But Tolerico, who was making $58,000 last year, chose to obtain a benefit to which he was no longer legally entitled.

That resulted in the county paying over $60,000 in prescription and medical payments for his former spouse. When the alleged fraudulent practices were discovered, sheriff’s personnel contacted the office’s insurance provider, which had recently been billed an additional $600,000 for medical care on the same account. Those payments have been suspended, the release states.

Last March, Tolerico, an 18-year veteran of the agency, was one of seven deputies at the agency who received the Exceptional Service Award, given to a deputy who, according to the agency, “rendered service involving exceptional courage and grave personal danger in saving or attempting to save a life, or in resolving safely an immediate life-threatening situation.” He’d also won the award in 2003. In 2006, he was the recipient of a Meritorious Service Award.

“Unfortunately, during my 15 years as a law enforcement chief executive officer, this is not the first time that I have had to arrest one of my own employees,” Sheriff David Shoar was quoted as saying in the release.

Tolerico invoked his constitutional rights when questioned by detectives and did not make a statement concerning this investigation. He was placed on paid administrative Leave at the onset of the investigation, but was fired from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at the time of his arrest.

A booking image of Tolerico is not available. Florida law exempts images of police officers from public record disclosure, even beyond their employment or when arrested.

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5 Responses for “St. Johns Sheriff’s Deputy Accused of $60,000 Insurance Fraud Off Late Ex-Wife’s Benefits”

  1. PeachesMcGee says:

    600k is major bucks for medical claims.

    While I don’t condone his actions, it would seem he was trying to help his ex, albeit illegally.

  2. Geezer says:

    At least Tolerico didn’t kill his girlfriend like his colleague Deputy Jeremy Banks.
    The sheriff, David Shoar is a spin doctor who specializes in cover-ups.

    He and the FDLE turned a murder into a suicide. (just like the good ol’ boys they are…)
    SJSO personnel arrogantly subverted police procedure when it came to one of their own –
    it’s mind boggling!

    Watch the fascinating (and depressing) documentary –
    FRONTLINE: A Death in St. Augustine
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/death-in-st-augustine/

    Wait until you get a look at the medical examiner, the clueless nincompoop.
    Typical Florida fare!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The St. John’s sheriff’s office has embarrassed itself enough to warrant an investigation into how the entire department is being supervised and managed (if they are.)

  4. Whatever says:

    Now this Man has to deal with his ex-wifes death and all this. It doesn’t make it right but he was trying to do what he could for her. He should have stayed married for the insurance. He is in a whole lot of trouble. Prayers for him and his Family.

  5. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    He was no angel.

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