Popular media

Books, movies and TV shows about insurance fraud


Books


The Pretender: How Martin Frankel Fooled the Financial World and Led the Feds on One of the Most Publicized Manhunts in History

By Ellen Joan Pollock

Wall Street Journal senior reporter Ellen Joan Pollock tracks the elusive, multimillionaire financier Martin Frankel in her new book, "The Pretender: How Martin Frankel Fooled the Financial World and Led the Feds on One of the Most Publicized Manhunts in History." (Available in hardcover and e-book formats.) Click here for more information. Ms. Pollock will speak at the May 9 luncheon of the Coalition's spring board of directors meeting.


Broken Promises: Fraud by Small Business Health Insurers

By Robert Tillman

As the costs of medical care have skyrocketed, so has the amount of money lost to fraudulent health insurance providers. These bogus operations typically victimize individuals on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale who then face staggering medical bills without coverage. Broken Promises is a much-needed study of insider health insurance fraud. Robert Tillman shows how market conditions and weak regulatory structures have allowed these crimes to occur, and cites recent institutional and legal changes that have created both new demands for insurance and greater opportunities for fraud. He also analyzes the political and economic climate that enables these criminal practices to flourish. Click here for more information. The Coalition assisted the author by providing background information about health insurance fraud.

Accidentally, on Purpose:The Making of a Personal Injury Underworld in America

By Ken Dornstein

Accidentally, on Purpose is the first book to document the making of America's most peculiar criminal underworld. Not centered on the traditional activities of organized crime — drug dealing, gambling, prostitution, loan-sharking, protection, or bookmaking — this improbable underworld has been built from the raw material of faked personal injuries. Accidentally, on Purpose takes readers back to the late nineteenth century to the earliest slip-and-fall artists, one of whom, "Banana" Anna, feigned injuries for money by slipping on banana peels on steam trains throughout the Midwest. Readers then encounter the "ambulance chasers" and "shysters" of old New York who pioneered the personal injury trade; the accident racketeers of the 1920s; the excesses of self-mutilation for profit during the Depression; and the whiplash industry of the 1960s and 1970s. Through original interviews and research, Dornstein also reports on contemporary gangs whose members travel the streets of cities around the country staging car accidents for insurance money — the "cappers" who script accidents, the "dummies" who sit in cars for crashes, and the doctors and lawyers who call the shots from behind the scenes. In this engaging chronicle, Dornstein tells an original story about a culture in which greed, desperation, and freemarket incentives in the legal system have transformed accidents and injuries from random instances of bad luck into the solid foundations of a vast secret economy.


Movies

Curse of the Jade Scorpion

Starring Woody Allen

CW Briggs is the top insurance investigator in 1940s New York. Well, that's what he keeps telling the top efficiency expert, Betty Ann "Fitz" Fitzgerald. Briggs prides himself on being able to crack any insurance caper by getting into the mind of the thief, but the hypnotic powers of the Jade Scorpion gets the mind of the thief into Briggs... Click here for more information. 2001

Double Indemnity

Starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson

Smooth talking insurance salesman Walter Neff meets attractive Phyllis Dietrichson when he calls to renew her husband's automobile policy. The couple are immediately drawn to each other and an affair begins. They cook up a scheme to murder Mr. Dietrichson for life insurance money with a double indemnity clause. Unfortunately, all does not go to plan... Click here for more information.


Television shows

Friends

Episode #16, 1994-95

PLOT: The high jinks continue as an injured and uninsured Rachel needles Monica into defrauding
the hospital by letting Rachel use her insurance. Ross continues to grapple with impending fatherhood. Phoebe and Joey kiss! (Of course, he thinks she's Ursula.) Far superior to the pallid Part 1 thanks to Monica and Rachel's wickedly funny insurance-fraud-necessitated identity swap. (From Entertainment Weekly)

The Simpsons

King-Size Homer, May 1995

Homer discovers that he can get out of going to work if he can be classifed as disabled. He seeks to become hyper-obese so he can be classified as disabled. With help from Bart, he gets up to 315 pounds and is rewarded by being ordered to work at home, which means having to do no work at all.

moeThe Simpsons

Dumbbell Indeminity, March 1998

When Moe goes broke romancing a new love, he enlists the aid of Homer in an illegal scheme to collect $5,000 dollars from his automobile's insurance policy. But after Homer botches the scam, Moe must find a way to bust his best customer out of jail.


Do you have an example of how insurance fraud has been portrayed in popular media? Send an e-mail message to info@insurancefraud.org and tell us about a book, movie or tv show and how it portrayed insurance fraud.