The year 2020 would not be complete without a recap of America’s worst insurance fraud crimes.
Homeless New Yorkers targeted in a $31.7 million slip-and-fall ring. A sober-home mogul trades sex for drugs. A billionaire insurance mogul attempts to bribe a state insurance commissioner. These are among the newest members of the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame inducted by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud:
- Slip ring stumbles. Bryan Duncan hired hundreds of homeless people to fake $31.7 million of painful injuries from setup falls against businesses in New York City. Many had unneeded surgery. Federal sentence: 80 months.
- Fired up, watered down. Dozens of old houses were burned and flooded in a $1.7-million scheme by Patrick Wayne Bronnon’s ring in Texas. They also insured fake possessions. State sentence: 78 years in state prison, though Bronnon died in July 2020.
- Stolen Valor. Richard Meleski claimed he was a Navy SEAL wounded in Beirut, Lebanon. Yet the Pennsylvania man never served in the military. He invented the heroics to steal more than $300,000 of federal disability money. Federal sentence: pending.
- Food folly. Tainted food sickened Jacqueline Masse, the New Hampshire woman said. She filed nearly $400,000 of false claims against innocent restaurants and grocery stores. Masse also stole her children’s identities for claims. State sentence: 18 months.
- Bribery boondoggle. Billionaire insurance mogul Greg E. Lindberg tried to bribe North Carolina’s insurance commissioner $2 million to ease state regulation of his firms. Instead, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and the FBI wired Lindberg’s bribery attempt. Federal sentence: seven years.
- Sex, drugs, betrayal. Christopher Bathum traded sex for drugs to addicted women at his rehab facilities in a $175-million insurance scam. The Los Angeles-area man also gave patients drugs so they’d relapse for more expensive rehab. State sentence: 52 years.
- Skin-deep scam. Dr. David Morrow billed uninsured beauty surgery as medically essential in a $50-million scam. The Beverly Hills surgeon charged tummy tucks as hernia repairs, and nose work as fixing deviated septums. Federal sentence: 20 years.
- Rapper fraud racket. Would-be Chicago rapper Qaw’mane Wilson had his mother shot for life insurance and her savings to flaunt money and build up his fan base. State sentence: 99 years.
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