After two insurance companies noticed patterns of suspicious claims associated with the same Philadelphia body shop, 41 persons were charged in what prosecutors say was a multi-faceted array of fraud schemes involving the participation of insurance adjusters, police, a municipal official and tow truck drivers. “According to investigators, Galati Sr. routinely created false accounts of vehicles being damaged by accidents involving falling objects, deer, and other animals to increase amounts received for insurance claims. Investigators say Galati Sr. went as far as to have employees gather and store deer blood, hair and carcasses in the shop’s garage to be used as props in photos that were later submitted with insurance claims.” Other misconduct charged includes deliberate crashing and vandalism of vehicles, and the obtaining of a $1.8 million contract with the city of Philadelphia for which investigators claim Galati’s shop lacked the contract requirements. [NBC Philadelphia, Auto Body News]
The price of dashboard cameras has dropped to the point of an impulse purchase, but they still haven’t become common in the United States among motorists, those in law enforcement aside. They hold promise as a way of improving the allocation of fault in collisions, and especially in curbing varieties of insurance fraud such as the “swoop-and-squat,” but Popular Mechanics surely hasn’t thought matters through when it asserts, “In the real world, it means you win and the other guy loses in a dispute.” At least if the other guy was in the wrong and the camera was pointed in the right direction…
Cracked has a selection that includes disgraced Pennsylvania judge Michael Joyce (on whom), the pro wrestler on disability, a church with leaders who “have had so many X-rays that I wouldn’t be surprised if they glowed in the dark,” and — eeeeuw! — a couple of deliberately glass-eating restaurant-goers.
“Houston plaintiffs’ attorney Warren Todd Hoeffner, whose criminal case ended in a mistrial in October 2009, has struck a deal with federal prosecutors. Prosecutors agreed to defer a new trial for one year on the criminal charges against Hoeffner. Among other conditions, the agreement calls for Hoeffner to pay the government $2,485,000 and agree to a voluntary suspension of his Texas law license for two years.” Prosecutors said Hoeffner paid millions to insurance company claims department employees in the course of obtaining $34 million in silicosis payouts; his lawyers argued at trial that the employees extorted consideration as a condition of approving otherwise fair settlements. [Brenda Jeffreys, Texas Lawyer; earlier here and here]
“For several years, [defendant Susana] Chung ‘acted as the conduit’ of fraudulent insurance claims filed in connection with staged crashes in Northern California, said Larry Blazer, an Alameda County assistant district attorney.” Nearly 100 persons, mostly “victims” of bogus accidents but also including three chiropractors, have been found guilty in the scheme. [San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune via ABA Journal]
Kevin Underhill at Lowering the Bar catalogues claimant indiscretions that include performing a jig while being supposedly virtually unable to walk, and appearing regularly on a home-improvement cable TV show while collecting $147,000 in disability payments.
No, it turns out, very much alive, and now a Florida couple may have to give back that $2 million insurance payout [Sioux Falls, S.D. Argus-Leader via Obscure Store]
Former state Superior Court judge Michael Joyce, of Erie, “was sentenced this afternoon to nearly four years in prison.” Joyce’s bogus claims of neck and back pain after a rear-ending had netted him $440,000 in settlements; “the judge filed his claims on judicial letterhead, [Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian] Trabold said, and referred to himself as a judge 115 times in the letters.”