Fraud by Divine Right
They were All-American girls. Muffy and Buffy met each other as cheerleaders in high school. They were best friends. They did everything together. The two young women shared everything from clothes to boyfriends.
When they graduated from high school, both started to work as trainee tellers at the Fresno Friendly Loan and Mortgage Corporation. They learned to handle money. More than anything else, they learned how to beat the system. When the need to shop came upon them, they called in sick simultaneously. They were the antithesis of modern liberated women. They did not do the same job that men did. They did less. They were rewarded by their male supervisors more for their tight sweaters and skinny jeans than their ability as bankers.
Muffy and Buffy needed money so they acquired an insurance policy and decided to make a fraudulent claim.
Muffy and Buffy, honestly, reported that they had not replaced a single item they had claimed stolen in their first burglary. The things taken in this burglary from their vehicle were all items they purchased before the first loss. They even provided receipts and canceled checks establishing the purchase and the date of purchase of each item. After that the adjuster was convinced. There was no doubt, they had attempted a fraud. He reported his conviction to the Fraud Division of the California, Division of Insurance, and to Buffy and Muffy.
Buffy and Muffy admitted to the adjuster that the watches were never stolen in either claim. They withdrew the claim for the two watches. They still tried to convince him that the rest of their claim resulted from a legitimate auto burglary. He was not convinced. He denied the claim on the spot. He followed up with a written denial.
He reported the claim to the Fraud Division who agreed it was a fraudulent claim and presented it to the local district attorney. The District Attorney refused to prosecute on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to guarantee a conviction.
Muffy and Buffy went back to work at the bank. They hired a lawyer who threatened to sue if the claim was not paid in full. Since there was no arrest the insurer felt vulnerable. It paid $60,000 to obtain a general release.
Muffy and Buffy lived comfortably for a while on the money the lawyer obtained for them. They were determined to, and continued to, commit insurance fraud once every few years, to supplement their income.
For Muffy and Buffy crime pays well.
Although states pass statutes making insurance fraud a crime and statutes and regulations requiring insurers to do thorough fraud investigations, until they compel local police and prosecutors to prosecute the crime and judges to sentence the perpetrators to jail and people like Muffy and Buffy will continue to live well off their crime.
(c) 2022 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 54 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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