A kindly man’s best friend burns him alive … a doctor sticks needles and lasers into patients’ healthy eyes … a father kills his baby.
These extreme schemers are among the 9 worst insurance criminals of 2017. They were elected to the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
The No-Class of 2017 spotlights the year’s most brazen, bungling or vicious insurance fraudsters:
- Burning desire. David O’Dell thought Joseph Meyers was his best friend. Meyers considered him disposable. The Wayland, N.Y. man burned O’Dell alive in his rickety old house for $165,000 of home and life insurance.
- Bumper crop. Fake whiplash claims from setup car wrecks soaked insurers for $500,000 in Sacramento County, Calif. At least 100 vehicles lightly bumped each other, yet ringleader Michael Charles Young had car passengers faking painful whiplash.
- Baby killer. Broke and jobless, Joaquin Rams murdered his baby son Prince for $550,000 of life insurance. The Northern Virginia man took out life policies on Prince then killed him. Why did life insurers cover a baby?
- Unsober sober homes. Desperate drug addicts sought a cleaner life in Kenny Chatman’s sober homes. The South Florida man instead plied them with more drugs so they’d relapse. All for $25 million of inflated rehab and drug testing. Some addicts overdosed and died.
- Sightless scheme. Eye doctor Salmon Melgen stuck needles in patients’ eyes and lasered their retinas in a $136-million hoax. Luckless patients didn’t need the painful and botched treatments. The South Florida doctor even treated blind patients, and one with a plastic eye.
- Crash con burns. Rescuers picked up Theodore Robert Wright III floating in the Louisiana coast after a seeming crash landing of his flaming airplane. A ditzy insurance con — Wright actually staged the plane crash, torched another airplane, sank a luxury sailboat and dunked a Lamborghini in a watery ditch.
- Arson overpay. Buy cheap and claim big was Verdon Taylor’s arson motto. The Northern Virginia man burned old homes and junky cars in a 30-fire binge. He stole nearly $1 million of insurance money. Discounted old homes and furniture were billed as fancy expensive ones. Junky cars suddenly were new.
- Disabled disability scam. Crippled and impoverished Kentucky residents trusted lawyer Eric Conn to get them federal disability money. Instead Conn betrayed them in a mammoth $600-million scam. He fooled Social Security into paying disability for thousands of healthy people. Hundreds of truly injured people lost desperately needed disability money while the feds solved Conn’s mess.
- Home invasion. Dr. Jacques Roy billed Medicare $375 million for treating supposedly frail, homebound seniors. Many were homeless — or so healthy they happily mowed their lawns. It was one of the biggest Medicare scams ever. The Dallas-area man ran a boiler room cranking out hundreds of false homecare claims every day.