Insurance Fraud Around the Nation

Man pleads guilty to $190K insurance fraud scheme, extortion

A bookmaker has pleaded guilty to charges he shot a gambler with a stun gun and tried to burn down a restaurant in a $190,000 insurance fraud scheme in Hartford.

The Hartford Courant reports 52-year-old John Barile pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to charges of arson, insurance fraud, gambling and extortion.

Authorities say the East Hartford man ran an illegal sports-related bookmaking operation from 2010 to 2014. Prosecutors say he shot a gambler with a stun gun to punish him for not paying his debts.

Prosecutors say Barile and three others plotted to burn down a pizzeria he and a partner owned in Middletown to collect an insurance payout in January 2010.

Barile is scheduled for sentencing on May 6.

Illinois County to File Insurance Claim to Recover Funds Lost by Fraud

A northern Illinois county purchasing director allegedly spent more than $60,000 on personal items, according to a draft of an insurance claim Winnebago County plans to file.

The Rockford Register Star reports the claim alleges Sally Claassen, who resigned from the job in September, allegedly spent more than $60,000 on personal items. The document was obtained by the Register Star after a Freedom of Information Act request.

Claassen has not been charged with a crime. County Administrator Steve Chapman says the insurance claim is based on an internal investigation by the county auditor’s office.

Claassen led the county’s purchasing department from 1997 until she resigned in September amid an internal investigation. She is represented by attorney Chuck Prorok, who says Claassen is “fully cooperating with the FBI and their investigation.”

Jury Convicts South Dakota Woman of Setting Fire to Own Bar

A South Dakota woman accused of setting fire to her own bar to get insurance money has been convicted of arson.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says a jury found Road House Bar and Grill owner Lori Brandner guilty Friday of aiding and abetting arson, conspiracy to commit arson and submitting a fraudulent insurance claim.

Authorities alleged Brandner and three others set fire to her bar in the northern South Dakota town of Herreid on Jan. 21, 2015.

The fire significantly damaged the bar, which Brandner co-owned with her husband. After the fire, Brandner submitted a $310,000 insurance claim.

Her three co-defendants each previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson in exchange for testifying at Brandner’s trial.

A sentencing date has not been set.

Former California Guard, Wife Convicted of Filing Fraudulent $4M Workers’ Comp Claim

A former corrections officer and his wife have been found guilty of workers’ compensation fraud.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the John Alfonzo Smiley and Cynthia Ann Biasi were convicted Tuesday over filing a $4 million claim when Smiley was shot outside a sex club in 2008.

The couple claimed in depositions that Smiley was gunned down outside a San Francisco restaurant by a parolee who recognized him as a corrections officer. But Sacramento County prosecutors said the couple was at a sex club and that Smiley was shot after an argument with another couple.

Defense attorneys argued that San Francisco police did not properly look into possibility that a parolee was involved.

Smiley and Biasi face as much as eight years, eight months in state prison. Sentencing is set for March 4.