Staged Plane Crash, False Drought Claim, Chiropractor Bribes Crash Victims

By Denise Johnson | December 11, 2017
Texas Pilot Guilty in Gulf of Mexico Crash Insurance Fraud

A Texas pilot who survived a 2012 Gulf of Mexico crash and used an iPad to record his time in the water acknowledges it was insurance-related fraud.

Theodore Robert Wright III pleaded guilty Thursday in Tyler to conspiring to commit wire fraud and conspiring to commit arson. He faces up to 40 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say Wright and three others – who’ve also pleaded guilty – bought planes, boats and cars, over-insured them and destroyed the vehicles to collect cash.

Wright in October 2012 appeared on NBC’s “Today” show to describe a crash a month earlier on a flight from Baytown, Texas, to Sarasota, Florida. The plane crashed off Louisiana.

Wright, who’s a native of Port Kent, New York, used his iPad to record the ordeal before rescued.

South Dakota Rancher Pays Government for False Drought Claim

A Spink County, S.D., rancher has settled with the government over a false claim for federal drought aid.

Authorities say Jason Sparling, of Athol, submitted an application for a disaster payment for a loss of grazing during the summer of 2014, and received nearly $100,000.

The federal Agriculture Department later determined that none of Sparling’s cattle were on drought-stricken pasture land.

U.S. Attorney Randolph Seiler says Sparling has paid the federal government $180,000 to settle the debt under the False Claims Act. Seiler says people who knowingly submit false claims are required to pay back more than they received.

Missouri Chiropractor Bribed Officers for Accident Reports

A chiropractor and his wife bribed at least four St. Louis, Mo., police officers to get access to information on hundreds of accident victims.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the chiropractor’s wife, Galina Davis, used the information to solicit patients for her husband, Mitchell Davis. He then pressured some of the victims to exaggerate their symptoms to get larger insurance settlements.

Mitchell Davis pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy and making a false statement. His wife pleaded guilty to misdemeanor conspiring to access a computer without authorization.

Also Thursday, former officer Terri Owens pleaded guilty to bribery. She admitted she took thousands of dollars in bribes from 2011 to 2016 to give the information to Galina Davis. Two other officers have been indicted. A fourth suspected officer has not yet been indicted.