Coalition Names Top 10 Insurance Swindlers of 2004

January 24, 2005

The nation’s top insurance swindlers of 2004 were inducted into the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame reported the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

All of the new inductees were convicted or their cases closed out in the last year. The 2004 inductees include:

Greedy granny — Portly senior Isabel Parker made a career of slip-and-fall injuries in stores. She assumed insurers wouldn’t believe a nice old lady would be so larcenous. She milked insurers for $500,000 with fake falls in at least 50 stores. She used dozens of aliases and fake IDs. Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Judging the judge — Elected county court judge Don McAuliffe, sworn to uphold the law, torched his own house for $235,000 in insurance money. A crony set the fire while McAuliffe vacationed in the Virgin Islands to create an alibi. Fairfield County, Ohio.

Penthouse to jailhouse — Elderly millionaire Beatrice Kaufman exploited the Sept. 11 tragedy by lying that the attacks had damaged her luxurious $5 million Manhattan penthouse. She tried to convince insurers, charities and relief agencies to pay about $1 million for renovations that already were underway, plus other expenses. New York, N.Y.

Ashes to ashes — Rev. Gerald Rayborn burned down his church to scam nearly $800,000 in insurance money he wanted to use for lavish personal expenses like Corvettes. He lit gasoline to start the fire, but tied envelopes around an air-conditioning cord to make it look like an electrical accident. Chicago, Ill.

Avoiding the rap trap — Emile Moreau left his crony to die in an arson inferno that also injured three firefighters. The pair tried to burn down an apartment building he owned for insurance money. Moreau hoped the crony would die inside and take the rap. But the crony survived despite third-degree burns, and his testimony helped convict Moreau. Jamaica, N.Y.

Chilly antifreeze killer — Lyn Turner killed her policeman-husband Glenn by slipping antifreeze into his food so she could collect on his life-insurance policy. She was having an affair with a firefighter, and took him on a luxury vacation soon after Glenn’s funeral. She’s now charged with killing the firefighter with antifreeze. Atlanta area.

Dental drill sergeant — Dentist Tejbir Oberoi yanked teeth and performed root canals on patients with healthy molars to hike his insurance billings. He botched many surgeries, forcing patients to get painkillers at hospitals or have other dentists repair his work. Buffalo, N.Y.

Fakes and pains — Entrepreneur John Hyde sold fake health insurance to thousands of small businesses around the U.S. He promised discount rates, generous benefits and easy signup, but refused to pay claims. Hyde sold bogus health coverage to the family of a nine-year-old boy battling brain cancer. A teenager was in a serious accident, only to find his insurance was worthless.

The Hall of Shame, created to publicly highlight the severity and diversity of insurance scams and the damage they cause, inducts individuals who were dishonored for cons that were exceptionally large, brazen, tragic or plain stupid. According to the CAIF, insurance fraud is an $80-billion crime annually, second only to tax evasion among economic crimes, the coalition estimates. Insurance scams have grown increasingly invasive, violent and costly in recent years.

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