Firefighters die in a burning building. … A mother poisons her infant for life insurance. … A sober home plies addicts with drugs for bogus rehab claims. Welcome to the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame, home of America’s nine most-brazen insurance scammers of last year. The No-Class of 2018 proves insurance fraud is hardly a victimless crime.

We’re all victims, $80-billion worth. Honest Americans lose their lives. … Our identities are stolen … … Our bank accounts are drained … We’re given painful and disfiguring surgeries. … Families face stress and despair. … Scams drive up everyone’s premiums. Fraud fighters are hunting hard. Let’s turn the corner on insurance fraud together — one scammer at a time.

Firefighters crushed in alley as burning nail salon collapses

What desperate emotions flashed through firefighters Larry Leggio and John Mesh as the burning nail salon’s brick wall crashed down on them? Did they even have time? Flames shot through a nail salon that Thu Hong Nguyen set to steal a $40,000 insurance payout in Kansas City, Mo. Leggio and Mesh died, and two other fire fighters were grievously injured combating Nguyen’s arson fire. Ngueyen poured gallons of acetone and isopropyl alcohol into the stock room of her LN Nails and Spa. She lit the fire just before leaving work at 7 p.m. The fire quickly grew into a three-alarm inferno battled by 110 firefighters. It was the largest fire Kansas City had seen in years.People lived in 16 apartments above the Nguyen’s shop. Some needed rescuing. Read full story

Fake whiplash injuries fuel $23-million rifling of auto insurers

Whiplash and greed were good to Felix Filenger. The South Florida man motored several Bentleys around town, lived in an oceanfront apartment and flashed a $64,000 gold watch. His wife had $80,000 worth of designer bags. Filenger and Andrew Rubinstein looted auto insurers for a handsome living. They stole an outsized $23 million by loading up on inflated whiplash treatments for crash victims who were perfectly fine, or felt barely felt a twinge in their back or neck. The duo’s crime ring rifled insurers in Florida for seven years. The inflated insurance payouts were yet another prime reason Florida drivers pay some of the the highest auto premiums in America. Read full story

Filthy sober homes evict tenants, force addicts back into drugs

Yury Baumblit crammed people into grimy flophouses that worked much like sober homes. Addicts in rehab, mentally ill men and homeless drifters sought hope and safety. Baumblit inflicted misery. His homes were vermin-infested firetraps in Brooklyn, N.Y. Baumblit forced desperate residents back into booze and drugs so they’d keep needing drug treatment. Corrupt rehab firms then churned more inflated Medicaid bills for bogus drug testing and treatment. Many residents were bullied to get rehab — even if they weren’t addicts. Baumblit housed downtrodden people nobody else wanted. They needed the shelter to avoid dangerous homeless shelters and drug-infested streets. He imposed a sinister catch to stay in his homes: Attend drug treatment programs he chose — or be kicked back onto the streets. Read full story

Mother poisons disabled infant for $50,000 of life insurance

Erica White inserted lust for insurance money where a mother’s heart and conscience should’ve dwelled. How else to explain poisoning her 15-week-old son Tyrael McFall to death for $50,000 of life-insurance money? Little Tyrael never had a chance at childhood. His father Joseph McFall threw him when he was just eight weeks old in the Atlanta area. The impact broke Tyrael’s wrists and a rib. He was permanently blinded, unable to walk and severely brain-damaged. White left McFall, though had little use for Tyrael. He just got in her way. She wanted to have fun and spend money with boyfriend Michael Schullerman, who she met on a dating site. Read full story

Bribes for blood: Dozens of doctors paid off in $100-million theft

Prostitutes. Strip clubs. Cash. Luxury cars. Tickets to Kate Perry concerts. Private jet getaways. Dozens of doctors betrayed their oath of honest medicine by taking lavish bribes for blood samples in a $100-million insurance scandal run by David Nicoll. He masterminded the largest bribery scheme of doctors in U.S. history, all to steal insurance money in megadoses. Nicoll knew nothing about running a blood lab, yet had a nose for insurance theft. He bought a struggling lab called Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services in Parsippany, N.J. Nicoll quickly turned the lab into a money-churning emporium of insurance fraud. Read full story

Firefighter plunges to fiery death in flaming arson house

Patrick Wolterman raced into the flaming house. His firefighter’s trained instinct to save the elderly homeowners trumped his urge for self-survival that cold and snowy December night in the Cincinnati area. Wolterman didn’t know that the couple he tried to rescue were gambling in Las Vegas. Nor did he know that husband Lester Parker set up the fire, to steal $250,000 of insurance money. The first floor collapsed under Wolterman, weakened by flames licking up from the basement. He fell into the inferno below. His mask and helmet came off. Colleagues from the Hamilton Fire Department discovered Wolterman face down, dead of smoke inhalation. Read full story

Pain for profit: Pills, stinging injections drive $300-million scheme

Addicts’ lives meant Lamborghinis for entrepreneur Mashiyat Rashid. The Detroit man helped flood the streets with 6.6 million doses of painkillers. He also forced down-on-their luck homeless people to submit to painful and worthless spine injections they didn’t need. Rashid’s crime ring soaked Medicare for $300 million. He was one of America’s largest prescribers of pain pills at a time when 115 Americans die from opioid overdoses each day.Homeless seniors were special targets of Rashid’s theft spree. Many were addicts. He forced them to get painful spinal injections they didn’t need, all in exchange for pain pills. The ultimatum: Get injections — or no drugs. Read full story

Flames, floods wreck homes for insurance adjuster’s $14-million plot

Public insurance adjusters are hired to help fix damaged homes. Jorge Fausto Espinosa had a genius for wrecking them. The South Florida man burned and flooded dozens of homes for $14 million of inflated insurance claims. It was one of the most legendary adjuster plots in a state known for brazen insurance scams. Espinosa may go down as arguably the all-time Dangerous Don of shady adjusters in Florida. Espinosa earned a percent of insurance payouts he lined up for client homeowners. The bigger the damage, the larger his share. So Espinosa inflated claims like a hot-air balloon. An insurance insider, he knew how to game the insurance system like Picasso colored canvasses. Read full story

Addicts’ identities stolen to bill $175 million of inflated rehab claims

Kirsten Wallace stole the identities of suffering and scared addicts to bill health insurers more than $175 million of inflated claims without the addicts’ consent. Adding to their misery, some were sexually abused. Lonely addicts came to Community Recovery Los Angeles, looking for hope and a clean life. In return, the Southern California woman helped foist one of the largest health-insurance scams in California history. Wallace co-owned the lucrative string of about 20 rehab facilities and sober homes for drug and alcohol addicts. Most were in the Los Angeles area. Addiction treatment is a large and thriving industry in Southern California. The region is a national hub of drug recovery, sometimes called Rehab Riviera. The firm bought in clients with online ads, from the streets and even from out of state. Read full story

 



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

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