Ever watched these videos of people jumping in front of static or super-slow moving cars to claim third party insurance payments? Well, there are many that are not caught on video for which insurance companies end up paying. Insurance fraud causes insurance companies to pay more money than they should which in turn increases the cost of premiums on innocent people. It is still hard to resist the urge of making some quick bucks from an insurance policy that might not have paid out anything anyway.
In the case of life insurance money won’t come while you are still alive and many just can’t wait for that eventuality and so they try to tweak it by dying without actually dying and that doesn’t always end well. From people that faked their own deaths to unlucky souls that intentionally did damage to themselves or their property for an insurance payout, here are some insurance fraud attempts that went horribly wrong.
The Man Who Faked His Death Without Telling His Wife
If you are gonna fake your death, you need an accomplice in someone you trust who can keep their cool and file the insurance claim for you to actually get the man. In 2018, a Chinese man from Xinhua faked his death in a bid to escape his $14,000 gambling debt. He drove a borrowed car into a river and disappeared. His wife wasn’t aware of this plan though and so instead of filing a claim on his accident policy, she chose to drown herself and their two children in a pond so she could be with her husband in the afterlife as they had vowed to each other. The poor man showed up a few days after his family died and surrendered to the police having failed to cash in on the $100,000 payout on his personal accident policy.
When people commit insurance fraud on life insurance, they often fake their own lives or simply kill a loved one and file insurance claims but Joyce Small was smarter than that. She was a landlady who realized that she could make money from taking life insurance policies on her tenants if she thought they weren’t long of this world. She stole information on the tenants from their tenancy applications and used it to take 33 life insurance policies on 29 people. After receiving $211,000 from the death of five of the victims, the feds caught up with the landlady and quashed her scheme which would have netted her nearly $2 million.
Auto-repair shops are believed by many to be some of the least trustworthy places on the planet. You could go in with a small dent on your bumper and end up having to pay for a full body do-over that you never needed in the first place. Haddad owned two repair shops in Middlesex, Massachusetts both of which were accused of doing further damage to any vehicles that were brought in for repair in order to inflate the cost of repair.
His own security cameras convicted him as he was recorded denting cars using a sledgehammer. The saddest part is that he failed to fix some of the damage that he had caused to the vehicles. A Massachusetts courts sentenced him to over three years in prison and $170,000 in restitution payments for his fraudulent business.
The Moldovan Saga
When you fake your death, you need lots of money to disappear and stay lost and also ensure that photos of you taken after you are dead don’t show up online. That is how federal authorities arrested Arkon Vorotinov whose father’s body had allegedly been found in Moldova in 2011. Igor Vorotinov had a $2 million insurance policy on his life before his apparent death.
After his family transferred over $1.5 million of the insurance money to accounts in Switzerland and Moldova, the authorities became suspicious and the photos just confirmed their suspicion. Igor was later arrested in Minnesota while very much alive and sent to prison for 41 months in 2015 after paying back all the money he received while “deceased.”
Clayton and Molly Daniels
When spouses decide to fake one’s death and claim life insurance money, it is often harder for investigators to catch them in the act unless they are as sloppy as these two. It happened in Texas back in 2005 when Clayton Daniels decided to fake his death so that Molly could claim his $110,000 life insurance policy.
They exhumed an 81-year-old woman’s dead body, dressed it in his clothes and then sent the car off a cliff before burning it using a charcoal lighter to get rid of the evidence. The one thing they forgot is that DNA could still be extracted from a scorched dead body. The whole plan backfired as investigators found evidence that the couple attempted to create a new identity for Clayton and that the body in the burned car wasn’t his. They both went to jail for that scam.
Nicholas Di Puma
If you burn down your house and a convertible for insurance money, you need to come up with a better explanation for the fire than this guy. In his explanation for a fire at his house in Delaware back in 2008, Di Puma said he was cooking sizzling stake using four different pans when they all caught fire. He tried to put out the fire with a dishrag but it also caught fire so he threw one of the pans outside and it landed in the backseat of his convertible. While attempting to throw out a second pan, he tripped and the pan fell on his couch causing it to catch fire as well. The judge told him to pay $37,997 in restitution and go to prison for arson saying his explanation for the fire read like an introduction to the Three Stooges film.
The mortician that buried a ghost and claimed insurance
Most of the people that commit life insurance fraud are either holders of a policy or employees of an insurance company. You can’t imagine how much morticians know about the process of making and signing death certificates and how that could earn you a life insurance windfall though. Jean Crump was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2013 for insurance fraud.
She was a mortician in Long Beach who created a fictitious man named Jim Davis, had a funeral created including fake mourners and then sent a casket filled with a mannequin and cow parts to a crematorium. She then filed claims for funeral expenses and life insurance for her fake victim. She had already received $315,000 on the policies before she got caught.
The “slip and fall” queen
When you hear insurance scams, 72-year-old grannies are rarely what comes to your mind because it just doesn’t happen that way. You should meet Isabel Parker, a 72-year-old woman from Philadelphia who got half a million dollars from fraudulent slip and fall claims in supermarkets between the years 1993 and 2000.
Parker had used aliases at some of her slips and falls so she wouldn’t raise flags with insurance investigators. Fake slips and falls at grocery stores cost the customers because the cost of products are increased to pay premiums for those claims, so if someone is going to pour fabric softener and then intentionally slip on it, you better pray the surveillance camera in that store actually works.
David Player And Michael Weaver
Committing fraud on a homeowner’s insurance policy always means sacrificing something really valuable and in this 2008 case, it was Michael Weaver’s hand. According to the prosecutor in the case that was finalized in 2012, David Player and his friend Gerald Hardin convinced Weaver who had mental health issues that they should saw off his arm and claim insurance money on a homeowner’s insurance policy.
The two went ahead and sawed off the arm while Weaver was intoxicated but on taking him to the hospital, the arm could not be reattached. Insurance paid over $600,000 to settle the claim but Player became greedy and failed to give Hardin the agreed share of the money. The case became clear when the two men were caught by federal prosecutors and were both sent to prison and forced to refund the money.
Dead two days after taking life insurance
Life insurance money can cause families to turn on each other and sometimes, it gets tragic. In 2021, Christopher Collins from Houston, Texas called the police saying his wife had texted him about a suspicious man outside their house.
A short while later, police found his wife suffocated with a plastic bag in the house while Collins was allegedly at the gym and getting something to eat. The only problem with the case was that no one had entered the house and the couple had just taken a $250,000 life insurance policy two days earlier. The case was really straight forward although disturbing for the authorities.
Do you know of any other Insurance Fraud stories that are worthy of this list? Do let us know in the comments below.