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The 12 Dumbest Insurance Scams Of The Past Decade

SimiNovember 15, 2017

When it comes to the list of most popular crimes, one would expect murder and theft to be at the top. Sure, these things are more natural to our society and make sense from a sociological standpoint. However, these two wrongdoings aren’t the most prominent crimes we commit. In recent years, there has been an outbreak of another, perhaps more complex crime. We’re talking about the nasty deed of insurance fraud.

Many people seek insurance protection against various possible occurrences. Shop owners insure their shops against theft and weather damage. Homeowners insure their residences against natural disasters. It’s basically a foolproof system, giving you an ability to invest a small amount of money and get considerable financial backing in case something goes wrong. Chances are small, but – it happens and it’s best to have protection against such cases.

Although insurance companies sometimes present unfavorable contracts, some people decide to return the favor – by committing insurance scams. They’ve gone to extreme lengths to face a disaster in order to get some quick cash to use on their own. Some people have been so meticulous and intricate in their plans that it’s almost impossible to bust them. Others might be suffering from severe mental deficiencies – as they’ve committed some of the stupidest financial scams possible.

We were tackling the project of insurance concepts and stopped to think about the most hilarious insurance scams possible. By scouring the internet for hours, we’ve managed to come across these twelve astonishing cases. Whether they were bored, under the influence of something or just deficient in the mental department, the results were hilarious. Let’s take a look at their hilarious and pathetic attempts at trying to double cross insurance companies. Hopefully, they’ve learned their lesson this time.

1. Gerald Hardin – Chops off a friend’s hand to get $670.000

If we were to consider the most bizarre crimes, this one would be in a close battle for the first place. It’s just a grim reminder of the lengths people are ready to go to in order to get their hands on some cash. Rather than invest effort at their jobs and better themselves, they find it much easier and worthwhile to try to scam people. And Gerald Hardin didn’t only try to scam the insurance company, he injured a person severely by doing it.

In South Carolina, he made a deal with two friends, back in 2008 to get their hands on some money. The guy had three accidental death and dismemberment insurance policies. Given the fact that he was a woodworker, it made sense for them to have insurance policies like that. Chainsaws can be pretty dangerous and can cause deadly injuries. Knowing that, Gerald Hardin and his friend decided to intentionally chop of the hand of the third friend and split the profits.

They managed to do so and successfully got their hands on $670.000, but were caught in the process. Using a thorough investigation of the severed hand, the police were able to conclude that the chainsaw accident was not really an accident. Hardin and the two men were caught red-handed and apprehended. He, as the instigator, was charged with causing severe injury, obstruction of justice and insurance fraud. If all three convictions go through, he may be looking at 20 years in prison and a $250.000 fine.

Not only did he commit insurance fraud, but he also ruined his friend’s life forever. His friend’s acceptance of the plan is yet another dimension of stupidity in this strange and perplexing case. Let’s hope Hardin gets the rightful punishment.

2. Four women team up and make up a man to claim $1.2 million

We’ve all had friends with crazy business ideas, didn’t we? “Hey man, let’s buy pink bicycles from Vietnam and sell them” and that sort of things. Everyone has a will to succeed and gain some financial security in life. That’s something normal and understandable in human society. However, there are cases when our will for profiting gets the best of us and we get caught up in a strange world of intricate plans.

Such is this strange insurance scam devised by three very cunning women. It all took place in California, as the four women were bent on getting their hands on some money. In order to gain $1.2 million in life insurance benefits, they made up an imaginary man – yes, you read that right. Jim Davis was the name they chose. They wanted to go all the ways, so they staged a fake funeral with actors posing as family members and mourners.

Before cremating the body, they filled with cow body parts in order to get the weight rights. Upon disposing of the ashes, they told the insurance company that they dumped the ashes somewhere in the Pacific. First, they successfully got the money, but the two insurance houses were getting really suspicious about the whole thing. How come there were no real traces of Jim Davis ever existing? Where is his family? Where are his friends? These were all questions that bugged the insurance companies.

When they decided they had enough evidence, the FBI was alerted. They quickly busted the former mortuary worker and her three accomplices. In a swift court process, they were all convicted o wire fraud and sent to prison for a sufficient amount of time. The lengths people are ready to go to in order to get some money are insane.

3. Woman files a $10.000 claim for a much cheaper fur coat and claimed it was stolen

Single item insurance fraud is a growing trend in the criminal world. You get an item assessed by a professional and estimate its value and then proceed to accuse someone of replacing it or getting it lost in order to get your hands on a much bigger amount of money. Although it may seem preposterous, it does indeed happen very often. It’s in fact amongst the top three ways of scamming insurance companies. And people still fall for it.

In this case, they almost feel for it. The perpetrator was the 59-year-old Samiha Guirguis, a Philadelphia native. She had the brilliant idea of filing charges against a department store for a mink coat she gave them in 2005. Her accusations were that the receipt they gave her for an estimated value of $1.000 was false. Instead, she wanted to let the authorities know that the coat was actually worth $10.000 and that the department store was trying to scam her.

She made a claim under her homeowner’s policy. In the midst of all the chaos, she omitted one crucial piece of information. On the inside of the coat, her name was monogrammed. This immediately dispersed all her claims and let the police know she was just trying to milk out some money from the department store owner.

In the midst of the case, the officers involved refused to have any mercy on this woman trying to get even more money for an expensive coat. She was slammed with two counts of theft by deception, one instance of forgery and insurance fraud. The charges alone are serious, not to mention the consequences she might face if the judge also refuses to have mercy. Serves her right for being greedy.

4. Man caught on camera faking injury

Workplace and public environments are taken seriously in the US. People’s safety is an important subject and people decided to manipulate these circumstances. Thus, a new branch of insurance fraud is born – injury faking. Basically, people get themselves in situations where they may sue a richer person or the state. Purposely getting struck by a car, twisting your ankle due to a reckless subway train driver –these are all real ways that people use to get their paws on some quick cash. It does work from time to time, but Ronald Moore failed miserably.

He thought of the ultimate scheme to earn some extra dollars while playing the victim. He supposedly ran onto the bus while it was stopping and immediately started clutching his back in pain, while falling down on the ground.

He accused the city of hiring careless drivers and decided to sue the city for damages. Of course, this had no way of succeeding because of one small but hilarious detail – there were cameras on the bus! Ronald was caught red-handed with another accomplice. The second man tried the same thing, but he escaped prosecution because he didn’t file an insurance claim.

When the police and the insurance houses gang up on you – you know you’re in trouble. We could understand if Roland thought of a more intricate plan, but there is simply no way something amateur like that would work. A real professional would check the bus model for cameras before attempting the trick. He got off away with barely a scratch – he was given 2 years of probation along with a $1.000 fine. Hopefully, he stays away from trouble next time.

5. Insurance salesman fails to use knowledge to scam everyone

If you were to think about the ideal person to think up of an insurance fraud, who would it be? A man with the knowledge of the industry – an insurance salesman, would be the ideal choice. These people make a living off of selling unfavorable policies to unsuspecting customers. They deal with police and legal issues all the time so they could probably devise the perfect plan to scam everyone and not get caught. Or is like that?

Aaron Travis Beaird was also thinking this way and wanted to capitalize on the industry he devoted his life to. He thought about possible ways until it finally hit him – he could use a fake suicide note and make the evidence about the scam less evident.

First, he pilfered around $2 million for clients personal accounts and convinced a family friend to purchase a $2 million life insurance policy. In order to make the whole thing believable, he said that the man died and posed as a friend while trying to cash it. The insurance industry is no joke and not even Aaron could have his way. He was quickly caught by an insurance house and the police were alerted in order to catch him.

And what did Aaron do? Like every good conman, he went for the most logical move in the book and that is faking his own death. Suffice to say that he even wanted to sugarcoat this. He left his car by a bridge with a fake suicide note, all while escaping to the adjacent state. In late June, he was recognized and caught. The two counts of wire fraud he was hit weren’t light at all. He is awaiting trial and could face up to 10 years in prison. Serves him right.

6. New Jersey police officers reports car stolen and keep driving it for three years

Car theft is one of the most famous ways of getting a hold of some quick cash. In many impoverished areas in cities, there are groups who do just this. You approach them, ask them to steal your car for some small money and everybody wins. They get a car that they can sell on the black market, some money and you get tens of thousands of dollar from an insurance company. It’s so easy to accomplish, it’s almost impossible to track sometimes. The point is – you have to get rid of the car if you report it stolen. Why are we emphasizing this? Well, maybe because New Jersey police officers Suliman Kumara didn’t get it.

Kumara had the brilliant idea of boosting his not so great police earnings. Therefore, he contacted Liberty Mutual about his car stolen. Normally, they searched the neighborhood and alerted the police. Like with all car thefts, there was little they can do. The man had his car insured so they gave him his $10.000. He could have gone home with that money and bought a new car. He could have invested in a new apartment. He could be smart. Notice how we’re using the verb could? Well, it’s because Mr. Kumara was anything but smart.

He got the car back after a week and kept driving it for three years! Yes, he reported his car stolen and kept driving it for three long years. How did he get caught, you ask? Well, the insurance officer accidentally passed his house and remembered the case. He found the same car in front of the house peculiar and reported it.

It’s unclear who was stupider – Kumara for trying the stunt or the police for not having discovered anything for three years. He is a police officer, so it makes sense. He could face 5 years in prison, along with a hefty fine.

7. Cop shoots himself and makes up the description of the imaginary shooter

Police officers are supposed to be the staple of our justice system. If you’re carrying a badge and a gun, you should have the highest ethical standards of all. Even though anyone can get a badge these days, these men and women serve their country and protect their neighborhood. Because of this, they should set an example to the citizens they’re protecting. This is not always the case, as Jeffrey Stenroos did a nasty did that put dirt on the good name of the police force.

On patrol in January 2011, he called his colleagues about being shot. The entire force sprung to help him and catch the nasty villain who would shoot an innocent police officer. They locked down the entire area for 10 hours and employed pretty much 600 officers to search for the shooter. 9 schools were put on shutdown because of the incident. When they couldn’t find the man with a ponytail and a bomber jacket, they thought something was fishy.

Jeffrey couldn’t keep his story straight about how many times he was shot. He was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time, so his body wasn’t perforated by the bullets. After a series of interrogations, he finally cracked and admitted to the crime he committed.

The whole police force was ashamed of this move done by their colleague. The state pressed charges and he was convicted of planting false evidence and insurance fraud. He had to pay a fine of $390.000 to the city. People like this should be kept out of the force, as they give a bad name to others.

8. Man burns down his own house in an attempt to get money

Doing damage to your home on purpose is a popular way of gaining some extra financial resources from the state. People usually buy full policies that protect against all disasters. Sometimes, in order to gain much more money than the house is worth, they decided to cause one of those accidents.

The most logical and most common one is causing a fire. It can happen anytime and nobody will suspect a thing, as it can occur in the blink of an eye sometimes. This is, of course, if the case is solid and if the conman did the things the way they are supposed to be done. Nicholas Di Puma failed miserably in his attempt to get money from his insurance company. He reported that his house and convertible were burned down by him himself, as a part of a cooking accident.

It may happen, but way until you hear the whole story. Allegedly, he was preparing the food in two frying pans. They both caught fire and wanted to throw them out. He threw one out of the front door, where it landed in the convertible. He also wanted to throw the other one out, but tripped while running and it fell onto the carpet.

Needless to say, the insurance experts had a good laugh about Nicholas’s hilarious story. After laughing for a good while, they decided to have no mercy on the conman. He was ordered to pay $38.000 by a state court and was hit by five years of probation. This preposterous plan of his stood no chance against the forces of logic and reason. If you want to be a conman, at least be smart.

9. Woman orchestrates slipping incident 49 times over the course of 7 years

Sometimes, we tend to forget how bizarre of a country America is. People really do have a chance to sue everyone for basically anything they can think of. False lawsuits and insurance scams are pretty high on the most frequent crimes list. While we may see this as something repulsive, some people find that a real way of life. People like Isabel Parker.

The 72-year-old woman is addicted to gambling and she eventually ran out of money to finance her addiction. As an easy way of earning cash, she resorted to faking slips in supermarkets and convenience stores in order to fuel her gambling binge. She didn’t do it just once, but she repeated the incident 49 times from 1993 to 2000.  Not only is the number staggering, but other details are also pretty insane.

During the seven-year period, she used 47 different aliases and 11 addresses when filing her claims. It took a long time, but the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit managed to arrest her before she repeated her offense.

As a punishment, she received a four-year house arrest sentence, all while being convicted of 20 counts of insurance fraud. Over the course of her crime spree, she amassed more than $500.000 from insurance houses.

10. Couple digs up dead body in order to collect $110.000

Insurance fraud is extremely hard to pull off when doing in on your own. The best examples of this crime were when people really worked in sync in order to bamboozle the unsuspecting victims. However, even joint operations can fall through if the plan is not good enough. Clayton and Molly Daniels are an excellent example of this.

Clayton had a $110.000 life insurance policy and wanted to find a way to claim it. Obviously, he did not want to die, so they have to devise another plan. The best what they could think of was to dig up the body of an 81-year-old woman and dress her in Clayton’s clothes.

The aftermath would be putting her in his car, setting it on fire and claiming it was a car accident. It all sounds very intricate, but incredibly uneducated and stupid. They obviously never head of forensics or any form of crime scene investigation.

Hours after investigating the scene, the police realized that the body in the car is not Clayton and that the car was never involved in an accident. Clayton was found in hiding and was arrested together with Molly. They both received hefty prison sentences for corpse desecration and insurance fraud.

11. Two men get hilariously caught while robbing their own jewelry store

Every smart business owner will ensure his business, right? Of course, and many of them find the policies useful in case of robbery and other accidents. Instead of security reasons, some business owners use insurance policies for a much darker intent. When their business starts failing, they stage robberies in order to get some additional cash from the insurance company.

This is just what two New York City jewelry store owners decided to do. They plotted the robbery of their own store in order to file a $7 million claim with Lloyds of London, their insurer. Their plan was to hire two men and have them masked as, wait for it…

Hasidic Jews! Yes, the security footage actually shows two Jewish men with guns entering the store. Everything went well at the beginning and they thought they got away with it. That was true until the police got involved. In order to get rid of the evidence, they poured drain cleaner on their own security cameras. This was a weak attempt, as the officers were able to recover the footage of two men entering the safe and removing the jewels before the robbers arrived.

The footage was enough to convict the two of insurance fraud and falsifying business records. Who hires Jews to rob their jewelry store? They should at least have gotten a reduced sentence because of the creativity.

12. Man tried to get $20.000 by using Wikipedia photos of a cat

Pet life insurance is a thing nowadays. Many people buy expensive pets and obviously want some compensation if something happens.  Although their purpose makes sense, some owners request insane amounts just in case their pets die prematurely. This was the idea Yevgeniy Samsonov used when he tried to claim a big insurance policy on his nonexistent cat. Yes, you read that right.

His claim was that his cat died in a 2009 car accident. Because of that accident, he already received $3.500 for his back problems. Apparently, that wasn’t enough, so he really went overboard with his wishes. When he arrived at the PEMCO insurance company, he found it hard to strike a deal.

Eventually, the insurers said that they couldn’t give him more than $50. Yevgeniy made the mistake of sending some photos to prove the value of the cat. Upon receiving these photos, one insurance employee ran them through Google just in case. He had to check twice for what he saw because the photos were apparently taken from Wikipedia.

This has to be the most hilarious insurance scam ever thought of. What was he thinking? He could have at least found another expensive cat to take pictures of. Apparently, thinking a little bit more wasn’t an option for him.

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