Fraud News: Fake Claim and Crash Date, Workers’ Comp Double Dipping

August 30, 2018

Former Liberty Mutual Employee Charged With Filing Fake Claim for Ring

Jessica Epler was charged in Spokane Superior Court with second-degree attempted theft and filing a false insurance claim for a diamond ring. The case was investigated by Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU).

Epler added a diamond ring to her fiance’s renter’s insurance policy in August 2016. The ring was valued at $4,000. She filed a “mysterious disappearance” claim with the insurer, Liberty Mutual, on Oct. 2, 2016. She said she put the ring in her purse while she was out with friends and her purse went missing. Epler was an employee of Liberty Mutual at the time of the claim.

Investigators found records that Epler sold the ring to a Spokane pawn shop on Sept. 26. On Oct. 13, Epler contacted Liberty Mutual and asked to withdraw the claim. Epler has since relocated to Pennsylvania and has not responded to Kreidler’s investigators.

Iowa Woman Accused of Lying to Insurer About Accident

A Sioux City, Iowa, woman has been charged with insurance fraud, accused of lying to her insurer about the date of an accident.

Woodbury County District Court records say 42-year-old Jennifer Fuentes is charged with felony insurance fraud for a false submission. She didn’t immediately return a call Friday from The Associated Press. The court records don’t list the name of an attorney who could comment for her.

A criminal complaint says Fuentes’ vehicle struck another vehicle on Feb. 16 when she backed out of a parking stall at work. The complaint says she applied that evening for insurance to cover her vehicle. Then, the complaint says, she filed a claim Feb. 19 with her new insurer. She reported that the accident had occurred that day, instead of Feb. 16, before she applied for coverage.

Texas Man Sentenced for Workers’ Comp Double Dipping

Texas Mutual Insurance Company recently reported that a Travis County district court sentenced Gary Hunt of Austin on workers’ compensation fraud charges.

Hunt reported a job-related injury while working as a sales coach for Radiant Plumbing Service, Inc., and claimed he was unable to work because of the injury. Texas Mutual began paying income benefits to him, but then discovered that he was working as a comfort consultant for another company. Investigators call this type of scam double dipping because the claimant collects benefits for being too injured to work when he or she is, in fact, gainfully employed.

The Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation prosecutor in Travis County presented the case for indictment. The court sentenced Hunt to a Class A misdemeanor with one-year deferred adjudication. He will pay $8,192 in restitution to Texas Mutual.

Texas law requires claimants to contact their workers’ comp carrier when they return to work.

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