DARIEN, Ill., March 27, 2011 (www.hospitalitybusinessnews.com) — Desperation, greed and the lack of common sense are possible reasons insurance fraudsters try to make a fast buck at the expense of others. Insurance fraud is a very serious crime that costs insurance companies and policyholders alike. In fact, according to latest estimates by the Insurance Information Institute (III), property and casualty fraud alone costs policyholders $30 billiona year.
But some of the most egregious insurance fraud cases that pass through the desk of anti-insurance fraud groups such as the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud can be downright ridiculous. Here’s a list of some of the most memorable:
- A correction officer and native of Naugatuck, Conn.was defrauding his place of business by fraudulently collecting $5,000in workers compensation, claiming he was injured on the job. That was until he showed up on TV in drag running a 40-yard dash trying to win tickets to a Hannah Montanaconcert. He had almost got away with it, until a photograph of him running in drag to win concert tickets showed up in the local paper.
- Most believe this type of behavior is nothing more than an urban legend… but think again. Carla Patterson, a woman from Virginia, allegedly found a rodent in her soup while having dinner at Cracker Barrel restaurant. Naturally, she demanded the restaurant give her a $500,000business liability insurance payout for her emotional trauma. Following an autopsy of the renegade rodent, it was discovered the mouse did not have soup in its lungs, so it did not perish from drowning in Patterson‘s vegetable soup. Patterson was charged with insurance fraud and spent a year in jail.
- A couple in Massachusetts, Ronald and Mary Evano, took to glass eating in order to scam grocers, restaurants, bars and hotels out of insurance money. In almost every instance, the establishments involved in the case, simply paid up in order to avoid a lawsuit. When it was all said and done, the duo collected nearly $200,000in fraudulent claims using bogus identification and social security cards. While Ronald was incarcerated in 2006 for the scam, Mary was on the lamb until recently. She was finally arrested in 2010 and charged with insurance fraud.
- Loose lips do indeed sink ships… Just ask Michael Paul Schook, a Suffield, Conn.ex-con who decided to evade his mounting debt and a home that was going into foreclosure by burning it to the ground. In order to collect $250,000in homeowners insurance money, Schook left a fat-filled pan on the stove before he left the house for an outing with his family. The house burned down, but unfortunately Schook was so impressed by his own brilliance, he told all the locals about his plan to burn down his house. Even his children told schoolmates of the deed. In no time, school officials called the authorities and Schook was charged with insurance fraud and spent seven years in prison for the staged fire.