We can all agree that insurance fraud, or any type of fraud for that matter, isn’t funny. But sometimes there will be a headline with alleged insurance fraud stories and occasionally they will be somewhat amusing and entertaining for how bold the person was. How people can create such elaborate and lengthy stories in order to gain from their insurance pay-outs can be absolutely crazy. These fraudsters commit themselves to a lifetime of running for a return of a large sum of money, knowing they can never go back.
The victims in these situations are who we feel for – the companies are forced to increase their insurance premiums, which punishes millions of clients who did nothing wrong. Information about current increases in premium taxes can be found here. Additionally, the insurance industry loses millions at the hands of insurance fraudsters.
So, let’s delve into some of the most hard-hitting stories and accounts of insurance fraud. Each just as inventive as the last!
The Habitual Cheat
You may remember a man named Charles Ingram, he hit all the headlines when he tried scamming money out of the famous television quiz show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”, After cheating money out of the television show, and getting caught, he went on to make further insurance claims. Having not learnt his lesson, Charles decided to take out new policies while not declaring that he had past claims and then claiming against them. When speaking to the court about Charles Ingram, Norwich Union said that he could be described as an “habitual claimant”.
A Total Car Crash (Not Really!)
There are often trends and patterns amongst insurance fraudsters and in the 1990s there was a new one emerging in the United States. This trend was called the “Swoop and Squat” which ironically sounds far less ugly than what it actually is. This “Swoop and Squat” trend was when fraudsters would have immigrants lay down in the middle of roads to act as an obstacle. The drivers of the cars would then have to ‘swerve’ in order to avoid this person. Of course, the entire ‘accident’ was an act and was carried out with the sole purpose at cashing in the insurance money. More on “Swoop and Squat”: http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2015/03/09/swoop-squat-beware-of-these-insurance-fraudsters
Dr. Good, Dr. Bad
Dr. Gupta was once a respectable physician in the United States. That was until he decided to defraud insurance companies out of $25 million. Dr. Gupta successfully cashed in by claiming against several patient’s health cover insurance, however the amount of operations that he was claiming he completed were far too much for a man to do. After defrauding the insurers, Dr. Gupta then suddenly vanished into thin air and is currently on the ‘Most Wanted’ list with the FBI.
A Neigh-torious Murder
In the United States, during the 1970s and through to the 1990s, there was a trend of defrauding insurance companies within the horse racing industry. Horse owners who would participate in racing would insure their horses for the maximum possible amount and would then slaughter their horses in order to get a massive pay-out from their insurer. FBI reports say that almost 100 horses were murdered for this purpose and someone was even killed to keep the secret hidden. When the fraudsters were finally caught, 35 people got convicted with insurance fraud charges, animal cruelty and other additional offences.
A Slippery Situation
One day Isabel Parker had an idea on how to defraud insurance companies for a big cash pay-out. It became so successful that she decided to repeat it again and again, totalling 49 times. Isabel would go shopping or walk into several businesses and pretend to fall over due to a spillage, leaving them with the liability. She would then get compensation from their insurer. Over the 49 times Isabel did this act she collected $500,000 from various insurance providers but even more shockingly, she never got sent to prison as she had one amazing legal team working for her. Although, Isabel did get put under house arrest for four years.
Fake Art Robbery
In 1999, a man named Steven Cooperman who lived in Los Angeles had possession of a range of expensive artwork and paintings, including Picasso and Monet. He decided to steal them from himself in order to get an insurance pay-out. By faking a robbery he attempted to claim almost $20 million from his insurance software. But unfortunately for him, his fake robbery was exposed and Steven was then sent to a penitentiary.
Second Chance at Life
An ex-prison officer and once model of society committed an act of defrauding his insurance company. His name was John Darwin, he faked his own death by staging a canoeing “accident”. His insurance provider had absolutely no reason or evidence to suspect that his death didn’t happen. Until one day he suddenly appeared five years later, alive and in full health. John had been living at his home since the event but it all came to an end when he was sent to prison for six years.
For more information about insurance fraud detection and prevention, visit http://www.theifr.org.uk/en/