Life Insurance Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

True Crime Stories of Insurance Fraud Number 26

Keep Your Business Going With Just-in-Time Death

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Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE presents videos so you can learn how insurance fraud is perpetrated and what is necessary to deter or defeat insurance fraud. This Video Blog of True Crime Stories of Insurance Fraud with the names and places changed to protect the guilty are all based upon investigations conducted by me and fictionalized to create a learning environment for claims personnel, SIU investigators, insurers, police, and lawyers better understand insurance fraud and weapons that can be used to deter or defeat a fraudulent insurance claim.


The Hungarian owned and operated a board and care facility for the aging in Carson City, Nevada. He brought his younger brother over from Hungary in 1975 to help him in the business. It was only a twenty-bed facility and with little help, the two could manage the entire business.

The oldest brother was the thinker. He got an honorary Ph.D. from the New World Society of Abundant Consciousness that ran a school in the desert just north of Pahrump. After receiving his honorary degree for a donation of $15,000, he insisted on the title doctor.

The doctor had no training in any field. He had a high school diploma and had operated several restaurants before buying the board and care facility. He believed that the title conferred on him the right to prescribe medicine, to give psychological advice, and to do anything he pleased. He would get drugs for his patients from other than legitimate sources. He would bill their insurers as if they were prescription drugs prescribed by a staff physician.

The widow was not an intelligent woman. She had limited education in her country of birth, Hungary. She could barely read or write the English language and spoke it with a thick accent. She relied totally on her brother-in-law. He handled the disposition of her husband’s estate. She signed whatever papers he put before her.

One paper he put in front of her was a claim form making claim on the life insurance policy. The claim form did not use the sister-in-law’s address but, rather, a P.O. box held in secret by the doctor. The insurance company, presented with an appropriate claim form signed by the widow and what appeared to be a proper death certificate, immediately issued its check for $100,000 plus interest, made payable to the widow, the sole beneficiary named in the policy.

The doctor received the check. He signed the widow’s name to it and deposited the money in his account. He used the money to pay the debts of the board and care facility and to buy a new home for himself on five acres of desert property outside Pahrump. The widow was left with nothing but debts. She sold the home she and her husband lived in since arriving in the U.S. After paying a commission to the realtor and the funeral expenses she had only $1,000 left. Her brother-in-law loaned her $10,000 which she used to buy some secondhand furniture and move into a small apartment. She met a blackjack dealer at a casino and married him so she would have some means of support.

The doctor lived in luxury for a year off the proceeds and then began planning his next insurance fraud. He has no other brothers to kill, so he decided to obtain life insurance on the residents of the board and care facility none of whom had a long life expediency.

© 2022 – Barry Zalma

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.

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