Hall of Shame Unmasks Winners for 2020: $80-billion pandemic of insurance fraud.

AuthorAcunto, Steve

Here are the headlines: Homeless New Yorkers are targeted in a $31.7 million slip-and-fall ring... A crime ring burns and floods dozens of homes. ... A sober-home mogul trades sex for drugs.

Meet the "winners" in the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame, the nation's most brazen convicted insurance scammers of 2020. They were inducted by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud whose work we praise.

The "winners" cost us all tens of billions of dollars in economic loss and premium increases.

Here's the menu and the tab.

Slip ring stumbles. Bryan Duncan hired hundreds of homeless people to fake $31.7 million of painful injuries from setup falls against businesses in New York City. Many had unneeded surgery. Federal sentence: 80 months.

Wait, 80 months?

"Your... honor?"

See next item - 78 years.

Fired up, watered down. Dozens of old houses were burned and flooded in a $1.7-million scheme by Patrick Wayne Bronnon's ring in Texas. They also insured fake possessions. State sentence: 78 years in state prison, though Bronnon died in July 2020.

Stolen Valor. Richard Meleski of Pennsylvania claimed he was a Navy SEAL wounded in Beirut, Lebanon. Yet Meleski never served in the military. He invented the heroics to steal more than $300,000 of federal disability money. Federal sentence: pending.

Food folly. Tainted food sickened Jacqueline Masse, the New Hampshire woman said. She filed nearly $400,000 of false claims against innocent restaurants and grocery stores. Masse also stole her children's identities for claims. State sentence: 18 months.

Bribery boondoggle. Billionaire insurance mogul Greg E. Lindberg tried to bribe North Carolina's insurance commissioner $2 million to ease state regulation of his firms. Instead, Mike Causey and the FBI wired Lindberg's bribery attempt. Federal sentence: 7 years.

Sex, drugs, betrayal. Christopher Bathum traded sex...

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