|By Jeff Weiner, Orlando
SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 12, 2012--A former Walt Disney World employee faces racketeering and other charges based on more than a dozen fraudulent claims authorities say he made on the company's liability insurance, adding up to more than $120,000.
The Division of Insurance Fraud began investigating Disney guest claims representative Gregory James Washington, 46, in 2009 after a financial analyst for the resort alerted the state, the records show.
Washington, an investigative summary states, was hired by Disney in August 2008, and was responsible for investigating claims made against the resort by guests "who alleged personal injury or property damage." As part of his job, he had the authority to negotiate settlements with guests and to offer monetary payments "without supervisory approval," authorities say.
However, between January and June 2009, the report states, Washington authorized 18 fraudulent insurance payments totaling $122,858.
Authorities say Washington used several methods: He would add payments to existing claims, increase the seriousness of claims and add or change the names and addresses of guests who made legitimate claims.
Washington faces a slew of fraud and conspiracy charges, including a first-degree felony under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, known as RICO.
He remains jailed in Orange County.
Investigative documents show Washington distributed the money to alleged co-conspirators in Georgia, New York and elsewhere.
So far, 10 other people face charges in connection with the alleged scheme, court records show. Washington was arrested Sept. 28, records show, and his bail is currently set at just more than $100,000.
A Disney spokeswoman issued a statement on Washington's arrest Thursday: "He's no longer with the company. When we discovered that there was an issue, we turned it over to law enforcement for investigation."
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