Iowa Landlord Faked Insurance Claims to Cheat Tenants Out of Deposits

January 22, 2009

Iowa authorities said that Robert K. Miell was tried and convicted on Jan. 9 on income tax fraud in United States District Court in Des Moines. Last week, Miell had pled guilty to 18 counts of mail fraud relating to an insurance fraud scheme and cheating renters out of their damage deposits. Additionally, he pled guilty to two counts of perjury.

An investigator for the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau uncovered evidence of Miell’s scheme in 2004. The investigator, with the assistance of Miell’s insurer, American Family Insurance, was able to identify nearly $600,000 of fraudulent insurance claims submitted by Miell for some of the approximately 1,000 rental
properties he owned.

The insurer was able to secure a judgment against Miell for $1.9 million for filing fraudulent claims with the company in a subsequent civil action.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau, assisted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service, found that Miell created phony documentation to include estimates for damages to his rental properties from phony companies and used these documents to obtain insurance claim reimbursement.

Miell did not start to repair the damaged properties until after the civil litigation was filed by American Family Insurance.

Additionally, Miell created a phony cleaning company, Home Doctor, to obtain damage deposits from tenants.

Miell’s sentencing date is pending.

“Insurance fraud is a cost paid by all insurance policyholders,” said Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that for every dollar of property insurance claims paid, between 11‐30 cents is directly related to fraudulent claims made by policyholders.

“If fraud could be eliminated and 20 percent of the claim costs reduced, a $500 insurance policy premium might be reduced to $400,” Voss said. “Fraud hurts us all.”

Source: Iowa Insurance Division

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.