2005 Insurance Fraud

Hall of Shame

Juan Ortiz was tired of maintaining his rickety old Palomar Hotel in Hollywood. Looking for a $1-million insurance payday, he had his brother Arturo light gasoline inside the building. One resident, Norma Galindo handed her two children to firefighters before flames closed in and she fell to her death. Two firefighters also were seriously burned when flaming debris fell on them inside the hotel, along with Juan’s brother Arturo perished as well. Ortiz served nearly five years for insurance fraud, but wasn’t convicted for the deaths or fires. Read full story

William Paul Crouse and Carmello Zanfei sold fake health insurance to tens of thousands of victims around the U.S. through their sham firm, TRG Marketing. Florida roofer Rusty Baker committed suicide after growing depressed when Indiana-based TRG wouldn’t pay his medical bills. Champion NASCAR driver Pete Orr died of cancer after delays in finding new coverage. Read full story

Tam Vu Pham paid more than 5,000 healthy people to have surgeons operate on them so his Southern California medical clinic could fraudulently bill insurers more than $96 million. Surgeons performed colonoscopies, sweaty-palm surgery and other invasive procedures. Read full story

Antoinette Millard, known to many as Princess Antoinette and a member of the Saudi royal family posed as a Princess to gain acceptance in the high society life. She attended high society events, and wore designer clothes and expensive jewelry that she charged to her no-limit American Express Centurion card. But Antoinette was actually an investment banker in Manhattan and decided to quit her job to start living out this scam. Read full story

Brian Calen made a small fortune in insurance money by lying that he lost his right eye on three separate boat cruises. The Manhattan day trader claimed the sun filter fell off a ship’s telescope while he was looking through it, a champagne bottle exploded on another cruise, and he was hit by a flying toy disc on a third cruise. Read full story

Molly and Clayton Daniels dug up the grave of an elderly woman, dressed her in Clayton’s clothing, stuffed her body in the car and pushed it off the cliff. The Leander, Tex. couple wanted to collect $110,000 in life-insurance money, hoping the insurer would believe the blackened body in the car was her husband Clayton. Supportive co-workers collected $1,000 to help Molly with the funeral, and neighbors agreed to help care for her two children aged four and one. Molly couldn’t collect her $110,000 in life-insurance money, however, until routine DNA tests confirmed the body was Clayton’s. Read full story

Alireza Asgari subjected dozens of healthy patients to unnecessary painful treatments, some of which caused infections at his Wilkes-Barre, Pa. dental clinic. Asgari’s motive: A $366,000 jackpot in fraudulent billings from insurance companies, prosecutors allege. Asgari was the handpicked successor to a respected local dentist who was retiring. Despite the thicket of diplomas he displayed, it’s unclear whether he even graduated from dental school, according to news reports. Asgari abruptly closed his office and skipped to California as patient complaints mounted. That left patients scrambling to find a new dentist and retrieve their dental records stashed in a storage unit. But whatever happens at his lengthy criminal trial, Asgari faces more than 150 malpractice suits from angry patients. Read full story


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