Fraud News Around the Nation

November 7, 2016
Insurer Accuses Tennessee Recording Studio of Fraud After Fire

An insurance company that paid more than $2.8 million in claims after an arson fire damaged an historic Memphis, Tenn., music recording studio has now accused a rock music label company of fraud and wants its money back.

The Commercial Appeal reports that Hanover American Insurance Co. has filed a federal lawsuit against Tattooed Millionaire Entertainment, its owner Christopher C. Brown and two others – Daniel Mott and John Falls – in connection with the fire last November set inside the former House of Blues recording studio.

After examining receipts and bank records, Hanover, which is based in Massachusetts, says $10.5 million worth of recording equipment that it had insured didn’t exist. The defendants had said the arsonists had stolen the equipment.

The defendants declined to comment.

Alabama Couple Accused of Torching House to Claim Insurance

Authorities say a man and a woman face felony charges after setting their house on fire and then trying to claim insurance for all of their belongings.

Police detective Rick Whitfield tells The Birmingham News the couple’s belongings had been moved elsewhere prior to the blaze.

Whitfield says 45-year-old Donna McCullars and 43-year-old Steven Millwood were taken into custody Friday by Adamsville police. Both are charged with second-degree arson and first-degree insurance fraud.

He says the fire happened on Feb. 22. There were no injuries, and the house was heavily damaged but not destroyed.

Whitfield says investigators discovered a video that indicated the fire was no accident.

McCullar and Millwood were released Saturday after posting $25,000 bond.

Online jail records do not list an attorney for the couple.

Washington Dental Hygienist Charged With $81,000-plus Workers’ Comp Scam

A Lynnwood, Wash., dental hygienist faces a felony theft charge after she was caught working while receiving more than $81,000 in workers’ compensation disability payments.

Shari Lee Kristiansen faces one count of first-degree theft. She’s slated to be arraigned in King County Superior Court on Thursday, Nov. 3.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case based on an investigation by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), which administers the state workers’ compensation system.

A routine comparison of L&I and state Employment Security Department records turned up the alleged double-dipping.

“We have checks in place to catch workers’ comp thieves,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards. “If you’re even thinking of trying to scam the system that helps legitimately injured workers, forget about it!”

Kristiansen filed a claim with L&I in March 2013, saying she injured her thumbs and hands while working as a dental hygienist for several dentists in King and Snohomish counties. However, charging papers state, she misrepresented her activities and the extent of her injuries to her physicians, who relied on her statements to tell L&I that she couldn’t work as a dental hygienist.

L&I provided benefits to Kristiansen, including cash payments to make up for part of her lost wages. To confirm she was eligible, Kristiansen repeatedly stated on official forms that she couldn’t work, and wasn’t working, because of the on-the-job injury.

But an L&I investigation later found she continued to work for various dentists from the time she was injured through May 2013, and then for 11 months starting in late October 2014, charging papers said.

In all, L&I paid nearly $57,000 in wage-replacement checks to Kristiansen, more than $19,000 for medical benefits and nearly $6,000 for vocational counseling.

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