Fraud News Around the Nation

October 14, 2016
Washington Couple Gets Jail Time in Workers’ Comp Scam

Officials say a married couple who owned and operated a now defunct foreign-language interpreter service just north of Seattle has been sentenced to jail for a fraudulent billing scheme.

The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries said in a news release that 40-year-old Kitzia Huerta-Ward and 44-year-old Philip Ward were each sentenced on one felony count of theft involving the submission of thousands of false bills to the agency.

They were each sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to repay Labor and Industries over $16,000 for inflating bills they sent to the state for reimbursement.

The agency had been paying the couple’s firm, Hispanic Voices, to provide Spanish-language interpretation for injured workers at medical and vocational appointments related to workers’ compensation claims.

Central New York Man Ditched SUV in Pond to Avoid Payments

Authorities say a 54-year-old central New York ditched his SUV in a pond, then lied to police by claiming that the vehicle had been stolen from his residence.

Madison County sheriff’s deputies tell The Post-Standard of Syracuse that Robert Kimball, of Chittenango, has been charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident.

Deputies say they were investigating an attempted home break-in in September when a neighbor advised police that his vehicle was missing. That touched off a search, and the vehicle, an all-wheel-drive 2008 Hummer, was subsequently discovered in a pond just north of Syracuse.

Deputies determined through an investigation that Kimball intentionally submerged the Hummer in the pond to avoid loan payments.

He’s due in court Nov. 1. It couldn’t be determined if he has a lawyer.

New Jersey Contractors Stole From Sandy Victims

State authorities say a New Jersey couple and their home improvement companies stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from more than 20 victims who hired them to repair or rebuild their homes after Superstorm Sandy.

Jeffrey Colmyer and Tiffany Cimino, of Little Egg Harbor, were arrested Tuesday on numerous charges, including theft, money laundering and tax fraud. Charges also were filed against their companies, Rayne Construction Management Services and Colmyer & Sons Construction.

The Attorney General’s office says the victims paid the couple and their firms more than $1 million, mostly in Sandy relief funds. But authorities say the couple used much of the money to gamble and buy luxury items.

Bail for each suspect was set at $300,000. It wasn’t known if either one has retained an attorney.

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