JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Authorities have arrested a Jacksonville elementary school principal accused of trying to defraud his insurance carrier in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced the arrest of Darrell Perry, who’s listed as the principal at Timucuan Elementary School, in a Monday news release.
According to a statement provided through a spokesperson, Duval County Public Schools has reassigned Perry to an off-campus role until the district's investigation is complete.
"Mr. Perry has been reassigned to a role off campus, with no contact with students pending the outcome of our concurrent investigation," the district's statement said in part.
Patronis said Perry sought $16,000 in reimbursements from State Farm for home repairs linked to damage from Irma, but two invoices he filed were altered and a third was completely made up.
"He had legitimate insurance claims with State Farm Insurance, but then what he also did is he started altering repair invoices and actually made some outright totally false invoices," said Patronis.
Investigators determined that invoices submitted for repairs to his roof, A/C and entertainment system were not related to Irma. In reality, according to Perry's arrest report, they were from 2013.
Patronis spokesperson Devin Galetta said fraud investigators working with the insurer identified the questionable invoices. He said Perry, who at first refused to meet with investigators, later confessed.
“Insurance fraud takes money from Florida families with legitimate claims and drives up insurance rates for us all,” said Patronis, who called the allegations “sickening.”
Perry turned himself in to the Clay County Sheriff's Office to face unspecified charges Nov. 16. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
Attempts on Monday to reach Perry were unsuccessful. A woman who answered the door at his listed address said the family has no comment.