Eight Worst Insurance Criminals of 2014

Year’s most-brazen swindlers reveal human costs of insurance fraud

Fast ... Don your hazmat suits and bolt your front doors. America's eight worst insurance criminals of 2014 have been selected.

The No-Class of 2014 reveals the year’s most-brazen, vicious or klutzy insurance swindlers — America’s newest pharaohs of fraud.

They dwell in a permanent cellblock, the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame. All were convicted or had other legal closure last year.

These barons of bleak reveal the human face of insurance fraud. Victims can suffer despair and depression. Some are injured or die. Families are broken up. Consumers can lose their life savings. Our insurance premiums rise.

So feel outrage and get mad. Even laugh — a little — at the more-knuckleaded cons. Yet also resolve to stay alert ... avoid money-stealing cons ... and report swindles.

With committed action by honest Americans everywhere, together we can turn the corner on this insurance fraud for good.

Staged-crash ring crashes and burns

Hijacking often-dazed crash victims, personal-injury lawyer Joseph Haddad built a crime cartel that exposed the victims to worthless and possibly dangerous medical treatment. The Bridgeport, Conn. man recruited crash victims for voodoo medicine, whether or not the motorists were hurt. It was all a setup to try and steal millions of dollars worth of insurance money with false crash-injury claims. They hounded the motorists to get treatment at medical facilities aligned with Haddad. Recruiting crash victims is illegal in Connecticut, so Haddad usually paid his cohorts in cash under the table. Read full story

Home insurance arson shrouds child murder plot

Two infants died of smoke inhalation in a blackened bedroom from a fire Angela Garcia set to steal insurance money and remove the unwanted kids from her life. Fire fighters found little Nyeemah (age 3) and Nija (age 2) dead on the floor of their Cleveland home after a fierce blaze had turned the place to piles of smoldering rubble. The kids laid on opposite sides of a bed. Nyeemah was wrapped with the cord from a window blind to keep her from escaping the fire, prosecutors charged. Nijah was in his final throes and an emergency medical technician tried three times to shock her heart back into action. Read full story

Bugatti dunk for insurance cash all washed up

Selling exotic sports cars was Andy House’s specialty. Sinking one for insurance money was purely amateur hour when his plot was captured on camera and became an internet sensation. House rocketed a rare $1-million Bugatti Veyron into a salty East Texas lagoon for an inflated $2.2-million insurance claim. Only 300 Veyrons were made. Geared to reach more than 250 mph, it was one of the world’s rarest street-legal sports cars. House bought the car with a loan from a friend, then insured it for double the price as a collector’s car. Read full story

Useless chemo marauds healthy patients

Cancer was good to Dr. Farid Fata. He pumped patients with toxic levels of chemotherapy, whether they needed it or not. They suffered mightily as the drugs launched mass attacks on their cells and suppressed their immune systems, often for months. The patients were his slot machines, and Fata hit the insurance jackpot with each false diagnosis. The Detroit-area cancer specialist billed private insurers and Medicare $225 million, with insurers paying out a princely $91 million. Fata often gave toxic levels of medications that patients didn’t need. Many patients didn’t have cancer — they were perfectly healthy. One cancer-free patient received 155 treatments over two years. Read full story

Cop punk rocks with fake injury

Moonlighting as the lead singer for a punk rock band, police officer Christopher Inserra gyrated and fist-pumped on stage while stealing disability money paid out for a supposedly enfeebled right arm. He blithely posted his writhing scam on YouTube for the world to see. Bad move; he handed law enforcement and prosecutors slam-dunk evidence that went viral and soon convicted him. The former New York officer said he hurt the arm while taking an injured Port Authority employee to a medical facility. He felt a “tremendous amount of pain” around his right elbow and lower bicep, he told doctors. Read full story

Ortho steals fortune with bogus joint surgeries

Faking and botching thousands of surgeries made orthopedic surgeon Dr. Spyros Panos a multi-millionaire. But instead of a luxury mansion, Panos will call a jail cell his home for years to come. The Poughkeepsie, N.Y. man made $35 million worth of false insurance claims and was a star performer at the medical facility where he worked. Panos bounced from operating room to operating room, performing negligent or phantom procedures that rang up large insurance claims. He shuttled at least 20 patients a day through his surgical factory — the monthly total for many orthos. He examined up to 90 patients on especially prolific days. Read full story

Cancer con bad medicine for insurance cheater

Bone cancer chewed through Sara Ylen, leaving her six months to live. It all started when a stranger raped her in a store parking lot. The assault gave her a sexually transmitted disease that caused the death-dealing cancer. Or so Ylen claimed. In fact her story was a remarkable fairytale. She bilked her health insurer out of nearly $100,000 in unneeded hospice care and sent an innocent man to jail for nearly 10 years for the claimed assault. Her health insurer paid for in-home hospice care for two years. Doctor reports supposedly confirmed the gravity of her cancer. A nurse regularly administered morphine. Read full story

Fake romance spells murder

Buddy Musso dreamed of being a cowboy singer. He enjoyed singing slightly off-key versions of country-western songs he heard on the radio. He also yearned for romance that had eluded him for years. All that was about to change. Buddy thought he finally found romance. In fact his new wife had sprung a trap to kill him for a meager life-insurance policy. Musso had the intellect of an eight-year-old and stayed at an assisted-living facility across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Fellow residents were protective of the good-natured fellow. Read full story

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