Zalma’s Insurance Fraud Letter – April 15, 2023

ZIFL – Volume 27, Issue 8

The Source For Insurance Fraud Professionals

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Obesity, Diabetes and Covid Not Basis For Compassionate Release

The US Congress, feeling sorry for federal prisoners, amended the law to create The First Step Act to allow a District Court to shorten a sentence when there exist extraordinary and compelling reasons to release the Prisoner.  In United States Of America v. Earl Lee Planck, Jr., Criminal No. 5:20-CR-24-KKC-MAS-1, United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington (March 1, 2023) Earl Lee Planck, Jr moved the USDC for compassionate release under the statute.

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The Special Investigative Unit Investigator

Insurance companies now retain the services—either by employing them directly or by use of independent contractors—of investigators whose expertise relates exclusively to insurance claims and suspected insurance fraud. The experienced claims investigator is usually a part of, or vendor to, a Special Investigative Unit (SIU) set up to protect the insurer and mandated by most states as a means to reduce the amount of fraud perpetrated against insurers.

The fact that an insured is contacted by a claim investigator does not, however, mean that the insured is suspected of committing fraud. By virtue of his or her training and experience, the claim investigator is more skilled than the claim adjuster in discerning facts and evidence that can be used in a court of law if a fraud has been attempted.

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More McClenny Moseley & Associates Issues

This is ZIFL’s fourth installment of the saga of McClenny, Moseley & Associates and its problems with the federal courts in the State of Louisiana and what appears to be an effort to profit from what some Magistrate and District judges indicate may be criminal conduct to profit from insurance claims relating to hurricane damage to the public of the state of Louisiana.

Chutzpah Defined

“Chutzpah” is a Yiddish term that has found its way into the English language. It is defined as “unmitigated gall” and is usually explained as a person convicted of murdering his parents who pleaded with the judge for mercy because he is an orphan. The latest actions by McClenny Moseley & Associates are a better definition of the term.

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Free Insurance Videos

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE has published five days a week videos on insurance claims, insurance claims law, insurance fraud and insurance coverage matters at

He 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 he practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 55 years in the insurance business. He is available at and

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The Problem with Different Degrees of Crime

Fraud by any Other Name is Still Fraud

Pursuant to the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (Code), one can be charged with the offense of insurance fraud for knowingly making a false or misleading statement of material fact in connection with an insurance claim. That third-degree offense may be elevated to the second degree by aggregating five “acts” of insurance fraud, the total value of which exceeds $1,000.

In State Of New Jersey v. Randi Fleischman, A-4 September Term 2006, Supreme Court of New Jersey (March 26, 2007) the Supreme Court of New Jersey was provided with its first opportunity to construe N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4.6’s penalizing of a false “statement” as an “act of insurance fraud” that can be accumulated to elevate insurance fraud to a second-degree offense.

The State indicted defendant Randi Fleischman for second-degree insurance fraud. The factual underpinnings for the charge were based on various items of false information contained in defendant’s statements to the police and to her automobile insurer in connection with a stolen car claim.

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Good News From the

A home healthcare company has paid $9M for allegedly submitting false claims. United Energy Workers Healthcare, Corp. and related entities settled a claim with several entities including Ohio, to the U.S. Department of Energy employees and its contractors. An investigation alleged: between January 2013 and March 2021, defendants submitted claims for payment for in-home healthcare services that were never provided or were medically unnecessary, in violation of the False Claims Act. Various of the violations included: billing for case management services not actually provided, instructing caregivers to charge for more time than actually spent with patients, providing and billing for services to beneficiaries that were not covered, and providing services without possessing required licenses. Plus many more convictions for fraud.

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A lawyer who suspects that his or her client is lying about the facts to cover up fraudulent or criminal activity the lawyer is placed in a professional dilemma. The client may be faking injuries after an automobile accident or fabricating the cause of a fire at his or her home. Or the client provides the lawyer with intentionally vague information about their finances to avoid reporting the information to the IRS or other governmental agency.

In July 2021, the Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee adopted Formal Opinion 142, addressing a lawyer’s duty to inquire when the lawyer knows a client is seeking advice on a transactional matter that may be criminal or fraudulent. Like the Model Rules of Professional Conduct counterpart, Colorado’s rule 1.2(d) provides that a lawyer “shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent . . .”

The opinion specifically discusses what happens when the lawyer suspects but does not actually know, that the client may be using the legal services to engage in criminal or fraudulent conduct. While the term “know” denotes “actual knowledge of the fact in question” under Colorado Rule 1.0(f), the Committee interpreted the actual knowledge standard to include “willful blindness.”

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Health Insurance Fraud Convictions

Santa Rosa Doctor Sentenced To 2.5 Years in Prison for Unlawfully Prescribing Controlled Substances

Thomas Keller, formerly a pain management doctor in Santa Rosa, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for distributing Schedule II and IV controlled substances outside the scope of his professional practice and without a legitimate medical need. The sentence was handed down by the Hon. Vince Chhabria, United States District Judge, after a jury found Keller was guilty of the crimes at trial in November 2022. Read about this and dozens more convictions.

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Other Insurance Fraud Convictions

Richfield Woman Sentenced To 10 Years Behind Bars for Insurance Fraud

The Department Of Insurance Became Aware That She Was Again Misappropriating Funds With The New Agency.

Charlotte Sheppard of Richfield, Idaho is headed to prison after committing insurance fraud. Sheppard allegedly stole her clients’ insurance premium to pay her personal and business bills and obligations.

She was sentenced to the Idaho Department of Corrections for 10 years, with five years fixed and five years indeterminate.

Sheppard was first prosecuted and found guilty in Blaine County for grand theft in 2020. But while awaiting criminal sentencing and administrative penalties, she took over the management of a second agency in Lincoln County. The Department of Insurance became aware that she was again misappropriating funds with the new agency. The DOI issued a cease-and-desist order on March 18, 2020, and revoked her license two days later.  Also many more reports of convictions.

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Barry Zalma

Over the last 55 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.

Barry Zalma, Inc., 4441 Sepulveda Boulevard, CULVER CITY CA 90230-4847, 310-390-4455; Subscribe to Zalma on Insurance at Subscribe to Excellence in Claims Handling at Write to Mr. Zalma at;;; I publish daily articles at, Go to the podcast Zalma On Insurance at; Follow Mr. Zalma on Twitter at; Go to Barry Zalma videos at at; Go to the Insurance Claims Library – to consider more than 50 volumes written by Barry Zalma on insurance and insurance claims handling.

Read the full issue of  ZIFL-04-15-2023

About Barry Zalma

An insurance coverage and claims handling author, consultant and expert witness with more than 48 years of practical and court room experience.
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