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Article posted: 1/27/2014 6:15 PM

Jail, restitution for Elgin man for false 'slip and fall' lawsuits

Juventino Guzman

Juventino Guzman

 
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A 53-year-old Elgin man was sentenced to four years probation, 180 days in jail and ordered to pay nearly $236,000 restitution after pleading guilty to filing a series of false "slip and fall" insurance claims.

Juventino Guzman, of the 500 block of Prospect Street, has five years to pay restitution in full or he could face prison time, according to the sentence handed down by Kane County Judge John Barsanti late Friday.

Guzman was arrested over the summer on charges of aggravated insurance fraud of more than $100,000 and forgery, and pleaded guilty in November 2013.

According to prosecutors and police, Guzman filed three false insurance claims to three insurance companies between November 2011 and January 2013 that he slipped, fell and was injured in restrooms at: Popeyes Chicken, 1616 Big Timber Road, Elgin; Burger King, 7510 Kennedy Drive, Carpentersville; and Butera, 3 Clock Tower Plaza, Elgin.

In April 2009, Guzman also submitted a claim to another insurance company and eventually was awarded $219,000.

An investigator from the National Insurance Crime Bureau called Elgin police over the summer after receiving a $180,000 demand for damages, sparking an investigation that led to Guzman's arrest and a confession, according to a police report.

Guzman faced up to 15 years in prison on the most severe charge of insurance fraud. If he violates probation, he also could be sent to prison.

Guzman's defense attorney, Gary Topol, who did not return a phone message Monday, has filed a motion asking Barsanti to reconsider the sentence and restitution order, records show.

The matter is due before Barsanti Feb. 21, the same day Guzman is set to begin serving his jail sentence.

He can have his 180-day sentence cut in half for good behavior in jail, and he gets credit for one day spent in jail after his arrest.

"Insurance fraud is a major crime that imposes significant financial costs on consumers, businesses, governments and our community as a whole," Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said. "Mr. Guzman's fraud contributes to higher insurance premiums for all of us."

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