WINDERMERE, Fla. — Local and state police chased down a prominent Windermere businessman who is once again headed to jail. This time, Michael Lait is accused of defrauding insurance companies out of nearly $400,000.
Investigators said the charges might not have happened if it weren’t for his previous high-profile arrests. Lait told insurance companies his back was so bad that he couldn’t work a moment. But fraud investigators said he was working plenty, ripping off his neighbors.
Windermere police and Florida insurance fraud investigators had to move quickly. They planned on arresting Lait at his Lake Butler Drive home, but he left moments before in a hurry. They pulled him over down the street.
Investigators said, for five years, Lait claimed total disability and collected $6,000 a month from insurance companies for a total of $390,000.
“The state did some research, investigated and believes he’s not really disabled,” said Chief Daniel Saylor, Windermere Police.
Insurance companies complained shortly after a Channel 9 story aired last November when Lait was busted for setting up the West Orange Children’s Foundation. He convinced one neighbor in the wealthy community to contribute $219,000. Investigators said the charity didn’t exist.
Investigators also said Lait would unnecessarily buy and sell insurance policies for clients to make huge commissions, worth over $100,000. Insurance companies figured, if he could do that, there wasn’t a back injury.
Lait was a member of Windermere’s First Baptist Church. His wife is a teacher at Windermere Elementary School. His latest arrest is another shock to the small town.
Lait is scheduled to go to trail on some of those other fraud charges later this summer