Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox announced a guilty plea from a Portland woman who filed false insurance claims totaling more than $135,000.
Earlier this year, following an investigation conducted by the DIFS Fraud Investigation Unit (FIU), Christel Lanz, 48, of Portland, was arraigned in Lansing District Court 54-A and charged with the following:
• 27 counts of uttering and publishing falsified documents;
• 4 counts of false pretenses ($50,000 to $100,000); and
• 4 counts of falsified tax-related forms.
The fraudulent health care claims were submitted to the insurer on behalf of Lanz and her family members between March 2015 and May 2018. The claims were submitted for medical treatments for injuries that never occurred. After an internal investigation, the insurer referred the case to the DIFS FIU in June 2020.
On Sept. 7, Lanz appeared before Judge Clinton Canady III in 30th Circuit Court to plead guilty to:
• 1 count of filing false pretenses ($1,000 to $20,000)
• 1 count of filing false pretenses ($20,000 to $50,000)
• 2 counts of filing false pretenses ($50,000 to $100,000)
• 1 count of falsifying tax documents
As part of the plea agreement, all remaining charges against Lanz were dismissed. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3 at 10 a.m.
“The FIU was established to combat insurance fraud like that committed by Ms. Lanz, and I’m proud of the work our team does every day to protect residents of this state,” said Director Anita Fox. “Many of these cases begin with a referral from concerned residents or insurers that notice something doesn’t seem quite right. Every Michigander can support DIFS in fighting this type of fraud, which leads to higher premiums for all of us, by reporting suspected insurance fraud online at Michigan.gov/ReportFraud2DIFS or by calling 877-999-6442.”
The FIU investigates criminal and fraudulent activity related to the insurance and financial markets and works with the Attorney General and other law enforcement to prosecute these crimes. Suspected insurance fraud can be reported to DIFS safely, easily and, in most cases, anonymously by calling 877-999-6442 or online by visiting DIFS' website.