A Villager has entered a plea in an insurance fraud case involving her brother’s wife.
Sophie Nassif Bolous, 74, who lives in Villa Vera Cruz in the Village of Santiago, is facing a felony charge of fraud. She was arrested on a warrant last week and booked at the Sumter County Detention Center. She has been released on $2,000 bond.
Bolous entered a plea of not guilty in the case on Wednesday in Sumter County Court in front of Judge Mary Hatcher. She has retained criminal defense attorney Danielle Barbato of Bogin, Munns & Munns for legal representation.
In a court form, Bolous indicated she collects $828 per month in Social Security benefits and has $20,000 in the bank. She also has $200,000 in real estate equity and owns a 2017 Toyota Camry.
She is charged with working in concert with her brother, 81-year-old Youseff El-Masry, who also lives in Villa Vera Cruz, to collect $22,050 from Genworth Insurance for care provided for his wife, Earline Peyton.
Bolous filed paperwork claiming she had provided care for Peyton at the rate of $25 per hour. She also claimed she was not related to Peyton by either blood or marriage, according to an investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. Bolous said she was providing care 78 hours per week.
Genworth Insurance on May 12, 2021 initiated a “care call” with El-Masry, who had Bolous with him on speaker phone. El-Masry, who emigrated to the United States in 1968 and spent many years in Chicago, told the insurance company representative that Bolous’ “English is not the best,” the report said. The call was conducted on a recorded line. Bolous claimed she was working about 10 hours per day, helping Peyton get out of bed and go to the bathroom. She also said she helped bathe Peyton and get her to the dinner table. An investigator analyzed the call and determined that Bolous was “being coached.”
When an investigator went to Bolous’ home this past August, she was confronted with the fact she was making $1,800 per week providing care for Peyton. Bolous said “that doesn’t make sense.” She said she did not receive a penny for the care and concluded she was “volunteering.” During the interview by the investigator at her home, she also admitted El-Masry is her brother.
El-Masry, who is also facing a fraud charge, has been in the headlines due his fierce battle earlier this year with the Community Development District 2 Board of Supervisors in a bid to save an illicit addition he made to his home without the approval of the Architectural Review Committee. He claimed he made the unsanctioned addition for the care of his ailing wife.