Insurance fraud is an illegal act by either the buyer or the seller of an insurance contract. It is an attempt to exploit the contract. Insurance is a means to protect against risks, not to enrich the insured!
Although insurance fraud by the policy issuer does occur, the majority of cases deal with the policy holder trying to receive more cash by inflating a claim. According to a recent survey, the number of false insurance cases in India is approximately 15% of the total claims. The Healthcare industry in India is losing around Rs.600-Rs.800 crores on fraudulent claims annually.
Here are some notable cases of insurance fraud.
- Watery Grave
Mr. Varun Sud, a resident of Nagpur, faked his own drowning to collect insurance money. His wife was unaware of his staged death. While she was mourning and thinking he had died, Varun was vacationing in a resort and having a drink by the pool! Mr. Sud had enlisted a relative to help him keep the insurance money from Mrs. Sud. When she discovered the truth, she quickly turned him in.
- The Implant Scam
Las Vegas cosmetic surgeon Shanita Flax found an insurance fraud opportunity in a Government program that paid for breast implants for cancer survivors. Her plan involved raking in cash from patients and filing false paperwork with the Government. Fortunately, her ploy failed! She was charged with 18 counts of theft and was arrested.
- Fire Fire!
A Toronto businessman, John Mango, hired someone to set fire to his business. Things escalated, killing one person in the fire and forcing many families to flee the area, until the fire was doused. Mango was charged with second degree murder and fraud charges.
- Michael Jackson’s Prescriptions
Lloyds of London has recently filed a lawsuit to invalidate an insurance policy taken out by Michael Jackson. The policy covered his “THIS IS IT” tour if it proved unsuccessful. The payout was to be $17.5 million, but Lloyds states that it is invalid because Jackson did not disclose his prescription drugs. As he died from an overdose, Lloyds is claiming deception!
- John Darwin AKA ‘The Canoe Man’
In 2002, UK resident John Darwin faked his own death, staging a canoeing accident to collect on his £25,000 life insurance policy. His wife, Anne, too was an accomplice in this. His body was never found, in spite of extensive police searches. They pulled this off for five years. Darwin lived secretly between his home and a neighbouring property the entire time. The couple attempted to escape to Panama in 2007, but were caught this time. They both were convicted of fraud and sentenced to six years in prison. Today, out of prison, they are still working to repay their court-imposed fine debt of £679,073.
- Isabel Parker ‘The Slip and Fall Queen’
A 72-year-old New Jersey woman, Isabel Parker was responsible for faking more than 49 ‘Slip and Fall’ scams in her 7-year career in insurance fraud. She would visit several stores and supermarkets, and pretend to fall on the premises. Later, she would file an insurance claim with the insurers of the property owners. Parker was successful in her scam, making more than $500,000 in claims, according to a joint complaint filed by prosecutors at the time of her arrest. In 2000, she pleaded guilty to multiple counts of insurance fraud amongst other crimes and was sentenced to a mere 12-month probation.
Crime is rampant in the field of investigation and criminals are ubiquitous. We need state-of-the-art investigation services to either prevent or help solve dangerous offences. By working hand-in-hand with law enforcement, a private investigator can suggest new theories and identify new pieces of evidence that can assist to solve a case. This may prove to be helpful in not only providing a resolution, but in pursuing a conviction as well. In the case of insurance, a private investigator can help validate the legitimacy of a claim.
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