2002 Insurance Fraud

Hall of Shame

Curtis Donald Keene, a Georgia farmer, somehow buried his eight-ton cotton picker — as big as two trash trucks — then pretended it was stolen so he could scam insurance money. He was desperate for money after financial setbacks. Read full story

Belinda Lovander, one of NYPD’s own employees, helped run a huge auto-insurance swindle from, of all places, inside the department itself. She pleaded guilty in January 2002 to filing 22 fake accident reports and was sentenced to two to six years in prison. Prosecutors said Lovander was a ringleader in a scam in which 110 people were arrested in December 2001. Read full story

Rex DeGeorge, a wealthy Beverly Hills lawyer, tried to sink his yacht insisted when caught after botching a scheme to scuttle his luxury boat for $3.5 million in insurance money. It was a lie that landed DeGeorge in prison. Read full story

Jaelynn Sealey torched her car and painted a racial slur on her garage door. It seemed like a vicious hate crime. But she invented the racial attack to steal insurance money. Read full story

Charles and Cynthia Gavett made up a bogus story that Cynthia died in the World Trade Center attacks. He claimed more than $600,000 in life insurance money — but Cynthia actually was alive and well back home in Connors, Ga. A local deputy sheriff even testified that the Gavetts invited him over for Thanksgiving — more than two months after her supposed death. Read full story

Quentin “Flint” Hawkins staged hundreds of fake car crashes… involving fake passengers… who received fake injuries… that led to fake insurance claims. All during a 20-year fraud rampage against auto-insurance companies throughout New York City. His huge swindle helped make the state’s auto premiums among the highest in America. Read full story

Raul Pero's grave contained only rocks. He faked his own death for $2 million in life insurance money, but screwed up when a crony tried to cash in a life policy before the date on Pero’s death certificate. Read full story

Martin Frankel, rogue financier and S&M playboy, secretly took over seven small insurance companies and stole more than $200 million from them while thousands of policyholders lost their coverage. Read full story

Jimmie and Isom Turquitt lured more than 40 homeless alcoholics and drug addicts off the streets of Birmingham, Ala. by promising rooms and bricklaying jobs at the brothers’ rural property. But the jobs were shams, part of a deadly insurance scam that killed seven people for their life insurance policies. Read full story

Dr. Felix Vasquez-Ruiz performed thousands of worthless nerve tests involving painful electric shocks, and then billed taxpayer-supported health programs $4 million for the phony treatments. Read full story

Richard Martinez accidentally blew up an illegal meth lab he operated above his mother’s Santa Ana, Calif. bakery, but somehow convinced an insurer to pay him $40,000 in workers compensation money from the bakery’s own policy after he was burned over 60 percent of his body. Read full story

Dr. Andrew Cubria performed more than 750 worthless and painful heart operations on homeless people and addicts to illegally bill taxpayer-supported Medicaid more than $2 million. Read full story

Steven Budge, an insurance adjuster, rammed a huge chunk of tree through a small hole in a roof to inflate an insurance claim — only to have a nosy neighbor videotape everything. Read full story

Read about previous year’s inductees to the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame: