Help: My House is Falling Into the Sea: True Crime Story of Insurance Fraud Number 17.

AuthorZalma, Barry

Career criminals are not the only people who perpetrate insurance fraud. The temptation has become so great that almost anyone who is given the opportunity, will try. Those who do not premeditate insurance fraud are called perpetrators of soft frauds. Most are small. Some are not. The story that follows is a not a soft fraud but one that was premeditated for a great deal of money by a person who should have known better.

Some years ago, residents of a hillside community received a letter from the county engineer informing them that their houses sat on an active landslide. The engineers concluded that an unusual amount of irrigation water, water from septic systems, and rainfall lubricated an ancient landslide under their homes and that the slide was moving. The engineers were concerned because it was moving at the rate of three inches a year. The houses sitting on the landslide were also moving a few inches a month. Within ten years the houses would be torn apart by the movement if nothing was done to stabilize the hillside.

Homeowners, living on the hill, noticed cracks in the plaster walls. Concrete block walls split at the mortar seams. Cracks formed in the foundation systems. Since the homes on the hill were all valued from $500,000 and $5,500,000, the monetary value of the potential loss of 300 homes on the landslide was enormous. Many of the homeowners gathered and hired counsel to pursue persons responsible for their damage.

On advice of counsel, the homeowners reported...

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