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The Life Insurance Blog

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3 of the Most Idiotic Attempts at Insurance Fraud

Mar 30, 2015 11:30:00 AM

insurance-fraudAt IntelliQuote, we encourage our customers to purchase life insurance because you have to “be prepared for life.” And life’s many surprises can happen at the most inopportune times. For example, after the sudden death of a spouse, the surviving spouse will file a claim to help him/her cover the inevitable expenses that come along with that tragedy.


But not everyone has the best of intentions. Some people have motives that are downright nefarious, as you’ll see in today’s post.

1) Burn Baby Burn: When you fall on hard times and are desperate for money, what’s a logical solution that most people arrive at? Torch your home and car and concoct a numbskull explanation for the fire, of course! At least that was the conclusion that Nicholas Di Puma, a Delaware man, came to. Mr. Di Puma claimed that his home and car caught on fire due to the pans on his wood stove igniting, which then burned two buckets of coal. Eager to remove the burning buckets from his home, he tossed one bucket out the door, where it promptly landed in the backseat of his car. As he rushed to get the second bucket out, he tripped, and it landed squarely in the middle of his sofa.

Unfortunately for Mr. Di Puma, the local authorities weren’t sold on this well-crafted story. He later pled guilty to second and third degree attempted insurance fraud and received five year's probation.

2) Vegetable Soup, Please. Hold the Mouse: When you take your mother out for a Mother’s Day dinner, the last thing you expect is for a rodent to be on the menu. Carla Patterson claimed she ‘found’ a mouse in her vegetable soup at a Virginia Cracker Barrel on Mother’s Day--and proceeded to sue them for a $500,000 liability insurance settlement. However, the restaurant conducted their own investigation and found that the mouse didn’t have soup in its lungs, which meant that she placed the mouse in her soup.

She was subsequently served up a one-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit extortion.

3) Cigars Up in Smoke: Cigars are made and bought for the purpose of smoking, right? Not according to a North Carolina lawyer who bought a box of 24 expensive cigars and insured them against fire. Yes, he wanted to protect them from what he bought them for in the first place. About a month later, he claimed “the cigars were lost in a series of small fires.” Of course, the insurance company believed he smoked the cigars and refused to pay him. A judge ruled since the company never stipulated what type of fires were unacceptable, the company owed the man $15,000. The insurance company paid him, and later had him arrested. He was sentenced to 24 months in jail and $24,000 for 24 individual counts of arson and insurance fraud.

At IntelliQuote, we are grateful that insurance fraud attempts on this scale are not the norm. But we can’t help but laugh at the hair-brained schemes these criminals hatched to try to get over on insurance companies.

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