WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2020 — 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. What would 2020 be without a recap of America’s worst insurance fraud crimes?
Welcome the newest members of the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame. The Masters of Disaster are the nation’s most-brazen convicted insurance scammers of 2020. They were inducted by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
The Hall of Shame puts a human face on another expensive U.S. pandemic — the collective cost of insurance fraud that causes tens of billions of dollars in economic loss and increases insurance premiums for all Americans.
2020’s Convict Cohorts
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.
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 claimed he was a Navy SEAL wounded in Beirut, Lebanon, the Pennsylvania man said. 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: seven years.
Sex, drugs, betrayal. Christopher Bathum traded sex for drugs to addicted women at his rehab facilities in a $175-million insurance scam. The Los Angeles-area man also gave patients drugs so they’d relapse for more expensive rehab. State sentence: 52 years.
Medicaid murder. Sherry Paulo starved to death a developmentally disabled resident of her care facility. The Missouri woman falsely billed Medicaid nearly $107,000 for Carl DeBrodie’s bogus care. Federal sentence: 17 ½ years.
Arthritis offense. Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada lied to patients that they had debilitating arthritis. The Texas man gave them painful chemotherapy and injections in a $325-million scheme. Federal sentence: pending.
Skin-deep scam. Dr. David Morrow billed uninsured beauty surgery as medically essential in a $50-million scam. The Beverly Hills surgeon charged tummy tucks as hernia repairs, and nose work as fixing deviated septums. Federal sentence: 20 years.
Rapper fraud racket. Would-be Chicago rapper Qaw’mane Wilson had his mother shot for life insurance and her savings to flaunt money and build up his fan base. State sentence: 99 years.
To read full-length descriptions of 2020’s worst insurance fraud crimes visit our website.