Philadelphia Man Helped Stage Robbery to Collect Workers’ Comp

February 5, 2010

A Philadelphia man who staged a fake robbery and shot his own cousin as part of an elaborate conspiracy to help the cousin collect workers’ compensation insurance has pleaded guilty in Maryland to a single count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

Joseph Francis Brooks, 46, of Philadelphia, was given a five-year suspended sentence and 18 months probation.

The guilty plea stems from a June 2002 incident when, while living in Baltimore, Brooks conspired with his cousin, Pierre Lamont Taylor to stage an armed robbery of Taylor for the purpose of making a false worker’s compensation claim with Taylor’s employer, United Parcel Service (UPS).

In August, Taylor, while working for UPS in Maryland was “robbed” by Brooks. Brooks and Taylor not only staged a robbery, but Brooks also actually shot Taylor in his right leg. Taylor soon filed a workers’ compensation claim with Liberty Mutual Insurance.

In November 2004, Liberty Mutual Insurance paid a lump sum disability payment of $250,000 to Taylor, who in turn shared some of the money with Brooks. A former friend of Taylor’s reported the fraud to Liberty Mutual. Taylor confessed to Maryland State Police that he and Brooks got the idea for the staged robbery from watching television.

When sentencing Brooks, Judge Michael J. Algeo said he has spent most of his working life as an attorney, a prosecutor and a judge and “this ranks as one of the dumbest things” he has seen anyone do.

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