The 2013 Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, an anti-fraud alliance that represents consumers, insurers, government agencies and others, inducted nine people to its 2013 Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame. The Hall of Shame is intended to call attention to insurance fraud by putting a human face on an $80-billion crime that many consumers consider a victimless white-collar prank.
The Darlington, Wis., man killed three of his children while setting fire to his home for renters and life-insurance money. During the blaze, Wand’s wife, Sharon, carried their infant daughter from the house, at which point he tried to shove them back into the burning home. Sharon received burns over most of her body. She will need oxygen support for the rest of her life. Wand received a sentence of life in prison.
The former U.S. Congressman looted his family-run agency to help pay for his first election campaign. The Arizona Republican stole his clients’ premiums, channeling most of the money into his campaign coffers before trying to cover it up. Renzi received three years in federal prison, but is appealing the sentence.
Naimark, a New York-area doctor by day, moonlighted as an operative in a major staged-crash theft ring. Part of a Russian gang that tried to steal as much as $400 million in bogus injury claims from setup car crashes and phantom wrecks, Naimark’s job was to sue, or threaten to sue, auto insurers over false whiplash claims.
One fateful night, the St. Paul, Minn. man, who owned a shop that serviced high-end cars, took his client’s $200,000 Lamborghini Galardo on a joyride that caused $82,000 in damage and knocked down three lamp posts. Without a driver license due to DUI convictions, Juntunen lied to his insurer, saying his employee drove and swerved to miss an animal. The insurer denied the claim, and Juntunen received six months in the county workhouse.
Conspiring with hundreds of Long Island Rail Road employees, Ajemian lied to insurers, claiming that the workers were seriously hurt, which enabled them to retire early with lucrative insurance payouts. The scam stole hundreds of millions of dollars. However, insurers got wise to the ruse. Engineering manager Gregory Noone, who lied about severe hand, knee and shoulder pain, was caught golfing on 140 different days over a nine-month period. Ajemian received eight years in prison and must repay $233 million.
Podgurski, an Amtrak clerk, went on the lam prior to her sentencing hearing for making more than $600,000 in bogus claims for purported theft of her jewelry, and disability claims involving a supposedly hurt back, hip and leg. She also regularly taunted the San Diego district attorney while on the run. Podgurski eventually was caught hiding in Mexico and was sentenced to more than 20 years in jail.
Using her children as passengers in cars, the South Florida woman maneuvered innocent motorists into staged wrecks for insurance payouts. After the crashes, Ovando forced the kids to get unnecessary and potentially dangerous chiropractic treatments and then ordered then to lie on the witness stand. Ovando was sentenced to more than six years in prison.
Gonzalez, a Cuban immigrant and former drug dealer, set up two fake psychotherapy clinics and billed Medicare for $63 million of group therapy sessions for patients who suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The phony therapy involved little more than watching television and movies. Gonzalez was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.
The Rochester, N.Y. man crushed his son underneath a 5,000-pound truck to steal a $700,000 life insurance payout. While his son was working underneath on the truck’s transmission, Karlsen kicked the jack out from under the vehicle and walked away. Karlsen will receive up to life in prison when sentenced.