Tag Archives: perjury

Maryland Insurance Fraud Raises Rates

Insurance is mandatory for a homeowner to have on a house that has a mortgage. You won’t be able to go to settlement without having an insurance policy (if you have a lender), and if you lose the coverage, it will be placed forcibly by the mortgage company. Every homeowner’s policy is priced in accordance with where the house is located, what is in the house, what materials it is made of, and who the homeowner is. In addition, your premium depends on the overall cost of doing business for the insurance company.

It is therefore in the best interests of the homeowners to be vigilant in their claims process, since it ultimately will affect them financially in the long run. I would also say that it is in the best interests of the insurance companies to be equally vigilant. They seem to agree. Insurance fraud is estimated to be increasing household insurance premiums by an average of $1000 per year.

In the state of Maryland, the Maryland Insurance Administration is, according to its’ website, an “independent state agency that regulates Maryland’s insurance industry and protects consumers by enforcing insurance laws.” One of their responsibilities is to “Investigate acts of insurance fraud”. So what is insurance fraud? It happens when someone files a false claim for damages, or does something to deceive an insurance company in order to profit financially. I should know. I am indirectly involved in something that looks like fraud to me.

I was notified about an alleged fire that happened at one of the houses I co-own. Except I wasn’t told about it until I was asked to sign the insurance payout check. Supposedly, a fire happened next door, causing electrical damage to our property. Supposedly, a guy was paid to put new electrical wiring into the damaged house, and fix the walls he was going to have to tear out in order to do so. The receipt I was provided to substantiate the claim differed from the other two versions that had been provided to other parties (one being the insurance company themselves). They had been obviously altered with whiteout by someone. This was just the start of trouble.

I couldn’t quite figure out how a claim was paid on a policy that bore two names, with only one person’s signature approving the claim. The Maryland Fair Plan, which is the insurance company, said (when I pressed the issue) that they actually only needed ONE signature in order to process the claim. Okay, if you say so, though it sounds wrong. But then there was the matter of HOW and WHY did the insurance company leave off the name of our mortgagee from the insurance check? When there is a lien on your car, or a mortgage on your home, the insurance claim check is made out to ALL parties who have an interest in the property. Meaning, your car loan or house note company is going to be on the check. Yet, it wasn’t done in this situation. Hmmm.

What was the most troubling part is when I found out that the electrical work hadn’t actually been done in the kitchen of the house (majority of fire damage), which caused the house to fail its’ inspection with the Housing Choice Voucher folks in Baltimore, which triggered the tenant to be issued a voucher to move (which she did). Clearly, the electrical work that the insurance company thought was done, hadn’t actually been done. Yet, a claim worth almost $4000 had been paid out as if it had been done.

When I tried to inform the insurance company that I was uncomfortable with the circumstances regarding the alleged fire, alleged damages, alleged electrical work, my missing signature, and the mortgage company’s missing name, they acted as if they didn’t understand why I had a problem with any of it. Almost like those sorts of things are routine for them.

“..deceive an insurance company in order to make money”, that’s what the site says. When it looks like fraud, reads like fraud, it likely IS fraud. If that was routine for insurance companies, Why? Do they have any responsibility? They do, if they won’t even take their own policyholders seriously, who are telling them that something is not right. Maybe it needs to be like the story below to get their attention. In the meantime, it got my attention, since my insurance premiums have been raised as a result of the greed of another. See HERE.

You’ll notice in the story, these words: “in good faith — accepted Levonian’s word.” Perhaps that was the largest part of the problem, as this site continues to point out.

For you, Maryland Joint Insurance:

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/19/nyregion/a-failure-to-battle-fraud-bleeds-empire-of-millions.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013/08/26/where-theres-smoke-theres-fire-red-flags?t=education-training

 

What price would YOU pay for bankruptcy fraud?

This segment reports on the antics of Steven K. Zinnel, who got himself into serious trouble when he planned and decided to commit bankruptcy fraud.  Bankruptcy fraud isn’t such the big story with this case, but what is interesting is the way that his fraud got detected and the fallout from it.  First, some backstory.

Mr. Zinnel went through a horrible divorce and child support battle with his now ex-wife.  Mr. Zinnel was a businessman with significant holdings and assets, but he wanted to control how much of it would be given to his ex-wife or kids.  Essentially, he didn’t want to be told by the State court how much of his money would be given for his obligations.  So what did he do?  He filed personal bankruptcy.  Best way to get protection is the Federal kind, while in bankruptcy.  Because of the nature of the relationship between he and his ex, she knew information about his holdings, and he knew that.  She wasn’t going to make it easy for him to just screw her and the kids out of what would rightfully be theirs otherwise.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Zinnel decided, along with his attorney, Derian Eidson, that they would set up trusts and companies in a way that would shield his assets from detection from the bankruptcy trustee.  He put property into other peoples’ names both before and after his bankruptcy too.  THAT, is a no-no.  Zinnel apparently made it clear in the divorce case that he believed he could conceal his true financial picture in order to avoid his financial obligations (his kids).  He wanted a little bit of help to achieve his goal of getting his wife off his trail, so he did what anyone would do: he contacted the FBI.  His ex was making things uncomfortable for him by requesting records about him, so he decided to make things uncomfortable for her.  He asked the FBI to investigate his ex-wife for requesting the records.   According to THIS write-up on the story, “According to papers on file with the court, when agents followed up on Zinnel’s call to the FBI, his own bankruptcy crimes were discovered.”  According to the write-up by TIME found HERE, Zinnel’s BK judge noted that, “having roused the beast, like the professor in Frankenstein, [Zinnel] was soon fighting off his own creation.”  It took a while, but the FBI was able to piece together his asset transfers, saw the sources of his income that he didn’t declare, and found the proof of his various bankruptcy frauds.

Oh, and let’s not forget about his female lawyer that put her own credentials on the line in order to assist her client with his fraud.  Difficult to imagine that an attorney would be so focused on winning for their client, that they would be willing to lie for them and help them commit fraud.  Clean hands doctrine, anyone?  Eidson was convicted of one count of conspiracy, and one of attempting to commit money laundering.  She also had to forfeit assets due to her conduct.  One has to wonder how much her integrity was bought for, assuming she had it to begin with?

 

Zinnel tried to appeal his bankruptcy, but it got stayed until after the criminal proceedings were completed.  You can read about that by going HERE.  Zinnel’s Judge had this to say: [“You don’t lie before a court of law,” Judge Nunley admonished Zinnel. “You don’t continue to lie, which is what you did.” Judge Nunley found that Zinnel’s gifts of being articulate and charismatic were used toward promoting Zinnel’s “own selfish ends.”]  Federal prosecutors had this to report in their filed briefs: “[Zinnel] showed his true nature: ‘hateful, vindictive, and incorrigible,’ read the court papers.  More on that HERE.

Zinnel got fined that $500,000 that is mentioned on nearly all of the bankruptcy paperwork that debtors have to acknowledge.  He also ended up having to forfeit almost $3 million of his assets to the government, and let’s not forget the time that you do for doing the crime that you did: more than 17 years!  Here’s a copy of the Prelim Order:

Download (PDF, 192KB)

We asked on this site, “can you make someone do the right thing?”. We were writing about our Pisces, Ms. Proctor.  We certainly hope she is reading this post, along with her attorneys.  This story is directly relevant to her, and she (and they) certainly know why! It’s time to be honest. Even Teresa, from the Real Housewives of New Jersey is doing it. SEE?

 

More found below:

http://www.justice.gov/usao/cae/news/docs/2013/07-2013/07-17-13Zinnel.html

http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/05/6210229/man-who-hid-assets-in-divorce.html

give a chance

What’s the Temperature of BAH Fraud Cases in the US?

An internet search reveals that the number of BAH fraud and other entitlement cases here in the US has increased. As one legal firm that we found put it, “The government has gotten serious about getting its money back”. It’s time they did.

A case in Arizona has popped onto the radar involving Air National Guard airmen who have been charged with stealing $1.4 million of money that they weren’t entitled to receive. 8 officers, included a Retired Colonel, and 13 enlisted airmen have been accused and charged with this crime.  Yes, you read right, even a Colonel. People see the title “Colonel”, and think that the person would be above reproach and wrong-doing. The Air Force Times article linked below states that leaders “failed to uphold military standards of integrity in part because they were ethically compromised by their own misconduct.”

 It must be a common enough offense these days, considering the number of internet results that you get when looking for BAH fraud attorneys. One military lawyer answered a question asked regarding how hard it is to be charged with BAH fraud. He answered by giving the elements of fraud quoted from military justice law, and then gave guidance on how a person can be convicted once the fraud is proven. His advice boiled down to “So to prove BAH fraud, they would need to prove that the service member, on purpose, filed a claim for BAH that they knew at the time was fraudulent.” His full writeup can be found below.

How do they connect the dots to show that you knew at the time the claim was fraudulent? Looking back to the legal firm who noted how serious the government is getting, they write that you should expect that the records you used to submit and justify the claim will be examined along with phone records, bank records, etc in order to prove that you intended to steal in the first place and then kept the money that you knew you weren’t entitled to have. Unlike overly-vexatious folks who jump the gun and file lawsuits just to be pains in the asses to people, the government takes its time to gather all of the evidence it needs by interviewing people who may know more than the servicemember will tell, and obtaining and reviewing what the actual documents show. No sense relying on the words of someone who, if they were intent on deceiving you in the first place, aren’t likely to tell you the truth even if you ask them. The forms they submit state that you are signing them, under penalty of perjury, so if you lied, then time to get the penalty that you signed your name as understanding that you might get if caught.

Many of the cases conclude with the person being stripped of rank, stripped of retirement pay and benefits, and made to pay restitution for the money they stole. In the case of someone who is no longer in the military, the penalty wouldn’t involve rank stripping that doesn’t mean anything on the civilian world anymore, anyway. Remember the case we reported on previously regarding the MD vets who stole monies they weren’t entitled to? They were all retired, getting disability pay for fictitious ailments. Wonder if there’s ever been a case of fictitious husband created to get entitlement not earned, along with fictitious ailments for fake disabilities? It would seem that anything is possible.

A case where the penalty was determined by EVERY month that the servicemember took BAH pay and didn’t give it back:

Download (PDF, 35KB)

There is a saying: Never lie to someone. Odds are that they already know the truth and just wanted to hear how you decided to spin it!

Site One

Site Two

Site Three

that lie