The Human Resources Director for Walton County has been arrested for insurance fraud following an investigation by Walton County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Financial Services Bureau of Insurance Fraud.
On Oct. 17 WCSO was notified of potential insurance fraud involving an employee within the Walton County Human Resources department. An investigation was launched and discrepancies were found in the insurance file of Human Resources Director, Ella Mae Walters, 48.
Documents collected during the investigation indicated Walters’ insurance coverage for United Concordia Dental listed a dependent, Christopher C. Byrd. Based on the date of birth of Byrd and additional documents provided, Byrd did not qualify as a dependent for Walters.
With the assistance of the Florida Department of Financial Services Bureau of Insurance Fraud a review of Walters’ United Concordia policy, and claims filed under that policy, was completed. A total of three claims were filed pertaining to treatment for Byrd totaling just under $300.00.
During the investigation, it was learned Byrd was employed by Walton County Board of County Commissioners as a courier from December 2014 to October 2015. However, during his tenure with Walton County he never elected, added, or chose to enroll in dental insurance of any kind.
“As the Human Resources Director for our county Ella Mae Walters has extensive knowledge of employment benefits and has direct ability to approve and oversee all changes to insurance,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “In saying that, Mrs. Walters knowingly and intentionally obtained a benefit for Christopher Byrd by falsifying an official record or official document. In discussions with County Administration, it was clear that they shared our concerns and cooperated fully with the investigation.”
According to the Walton County Administrator Larry Jones, Mrs. Walters will be placed on administrative leave until an internal review can be completed. “Once we became aware of these allegations, it was imperative that the sheriff’s office be allowed to conduct their investigation with no influence or interference from county staff. Now that the charges have been filed, we will place Mrs. Walters on administrative leave and perform an internal review to determine the most appropriate course of action,” Jones said.
Ella Mae Walters turned herself in to the Okaloosa County jail last week and is charged with official misconduct, false and fraudulent insurance claims, and falsifying records. This investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming.