Posts Tagged ‘insurance fraud’

There’s money in glass-eating, son

“A man was sentenced Thursday to more than five years in jail for his role in a multistate insurance fraud scheme in which federal prosecutors said he and his wife intentionally ate glass fragments and collected more than $200,000 in compensation.” Ronald Evano, 49, and his wife defrauded restaurants, grocery stores, and insurers around the Northeast by claiming there was glass in the food they ate and obtaining liability settlements; they were treated more than a dozen times for glass ingestion, and proceeded to stiff the doctors and hospitals too, declining to turn over any of the settlement money to them. Cultural-sensitivity bonus: “Evano asked the judge for mercy, saying in court that he and his wife are members of the minority Roma community, and needed the money to pay for dowries and other costs associated with the marriages of his sons under cultural practices.” (“Man jailed for 63 months in glass-eating fraud scheme”, AP/Boston Globe, Oct. 4).

Pa. judge indicted for insurance fraud won’t run again

According to an indictment handed down by a federal grand jury, Erie, Pa.-based state appellate judge Michael T. Joyce, a ten-year Republican veteran of the bench,

received $440,000 in settlements for injuries he claimed “affected his professional and personal life in a very significant way” after an SUV rear-ended his state-leased Mercedes Benz at a traffic light in Erie.

Joyce claimed the accident made him unable to play golf, scuba dive or exercise. He also claimed the injuries prevented him from pursuing higher judicial office, according to the indictment.

The judge complained of constant neck and back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and short-term memory loss, according to the indictment. He claimed he was in such pain from May to July 2002 that he could not play a round of golf or hold a cup of coffee in his right hand, the indictment said.

During the same period Joyce made these claims, he played several rounds of golf in Jamaica, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, went scuba diving in Jamaica and renewed his diving instructor’s certificate, prosecutors said.

The indictment also alleges Joyce used some of the settlement money to buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a share in a single-engine Cessna airplane, property in Millcreek Township, Pa., and to pay down a personal line of credit.

(Peter Hall and Asher Hawkins, “Federal Indictment Looms Over Pa. Superior Court Judge’s Retention Race”, Legal Intelligencer, Aug. 17).

At first Joyce vowed to hold onto his seat, but after a public outcry, and a quick move by the state supreme court to suspend him from his duties pending resolution of the charges, he agreed not to stand for re-election in November. (“Indicted Superior Court Judge” (editorial), Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 22; Paula Reed Ward, “Indicted judge won’t seek retention”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 21; “The Joyce indictment: A matter of integrity”, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Aug. 21).

Bad lawyer files: Fourth yacht’s the charm

Or, “Not only loose lips sink ships.”

Bloggers Grace and Wallace point us to the tale of the infamous (and now suspended) attorney Rex DeGeorge, which has important lessons how the plaintiffs’ bar has made insurance more expensive for all of us: because insurers who suspect fraud risk substantial liability for “bad faith” denial of coverage (e.g., May 5, where an insurer who merely investigated an $8,000 chiropractor’s bill was hit with a $150,000 judgment), insurance scamsters can manipulate the system by threatening a suit. For an individual case, simply defending the non-payment may be more expensive than making the payment; even on a systematic basis, the risk of losing a case and facing punitive damages can put insurers in a bind. This is lengthy, but worth it.

Read On…