8 worst insurance criminals of 2016

Insurance fraud exposed as major national crime around U.S.


America’s most-brazen, vicious or plain klutzy insurance scammers have been elected to the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame.

The No-Class of 2016 displays some of America's most-extreme cases of insurance fraud.

Insurance fraud steals $80 billion a year — raising premiums for honest Americans. The extreme schemers' reign of error shows why.

Fraud victims face stolen savings ... wrecked credit ... disabling surgeries. Some people are murdered.

Scammers also pay. They get caught ... can go to jail ... lose jobs ... wreck their families. They’re known as criminals to friends and community.

The Hall of Shame exposes insurance fraud as a major national crime wave. Fraud fighters call for educating consumers how to avoid being victimized, and for a national crackdown on insurance scams.

Neighborhood blows up in botched insurance arson

Did an arson fire or drone strike wreck the home in a tree-lined Indianapolis neighborhood? Hard to tell the difference.

Bob Leonard helped open a natural gas line inside the home. He wanted to trigger an arson blaze for a false $300,000 insurance claim. His half-brother Mark and live-in girlfriend planned to make the fraudulent insurance claim. Read full story

Epic crash ring braked after $279-million whiplash spree

Michael Danilovich viewed auto insurers as his personal piñatas. The New York man staged hundreds car crashes. He helped mastermind the largest no-fault looting of insurers from setup car wrecks in U.S. history.

It was a behemoth $279-million binge of false whiplash insurance claims throughout the New York City area. Small wonder that honest New York drivers pay some of the highest auto premiums in the U.S. — crash rings steal hundreds of millions from insurers in New York. The insurance-fraud losses get passed on. Read full story

Lawless libido traps cheater in partner-swap comp romp

John Alfonzo Smiley turned a night of sex frolicking into a dodgy workers-compensation claim. Then fraud investigators, well, exposed the prison guard’s X-rated exploits and sent him to jail for insurance fraud.

Smiley was shot and paralyzed from the waist down when he and his wife left a San Francisco restaurant after dinner, he told investigators. Read full story

Oh deer! Mob associate uses deer parts to stage car wrecks

Bloody deer parts and dozens of setup car crashes were the heart of Galati’s $5-million soaking of auto insurers with inflated car repair bills. And in mob style, he nearly had a witness shot.

Galati ran a network of corrupt insurance adjusters, tow-truck drivers and a Philadelphia police officer, plus his own repair customers. He was an associate of Philadelphia mobsters, even employing the wife of a reputed mobster. Read full story

Samaritan scammer shotguns legs to steal disability insurance

Shannon Egeland stopped to help a pregnant woman stranded on a roadside late one summer night near Caldwell, Idaho. It was an ambush.

Someone snuck up and shotgunned him, shattering his legs and forcing surgeons to amputate his left foot.

Or so the former Idaho developer told his disability insurer. Read full story

Dad murders infant for $750,000 of life-insurance money

Moussa Sissoko seemed to care deeply about his infant boy, even giving up college to share parenting in suburban Washington, D.C.

Sissoko cared so much that he bought a $750,000 life-insurance policy on Shane — and murdered him the next day.

The $750,000 of life insurance seemed like an easy score to Sissoko. Shane couldn’t fight back or run. Sissoko killed him cleverly, without leaving bruises or cuts that could easily be traced. Read full story

Bedridden girl starves to death while nurse shops

Makayla Norman was a lovely teenager with sparkly brown eyes.

The Dayton, Ohio 14-year-old had cerebral palsy. Bedridden, she couldn’t move or talk. Makayla depended on her trained homecare nurse for even the smallest details of bathing and eating.

Yet Makayla starved to death, a 28-pound skeleton. She had open bedsores and her diaper wasn’t changed. Her hair was infested with lice. Read full story

Doctor peddles $60 million of unneeded drugs to poor people

Mental illness made Dr. Fernando Mendez-Villamil rich and taxpayers that much poorer. 

The Miami psychiatrist spooned out epidemic levels of unneeded antipsychotic drugs to seniors in Medicare and lower-income people in Medicaid — $60 million in false claims.

Mendez-Villamil became a national icon of overprescribing. He peddled nearly 97,000 scripts for powerful drugs to Medicaid patients between 2007 and 2009. That was more than any doctor for mental-health meds in Florida. Read full story


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