A century ago, the Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said that taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. Reasonable minds can differ about the appropriate level of taxation. But few would argue with the basic truth of Justice Holmes's statement.
Insurance, too, is one of basic building blocks of our social structure. No one particularly enjoys paying premiums for insurance coverage. But car insurance, health insurance, homeowners' insurance and numerous other types of insurance coverage are all important in protecting people against loss when damages and injuries occur.
When it comes time to make a claim, insurance adjusters play a key role. Most of the time, they do a good job that is often really appreciated. But they are human, not automatons, and sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes they even participate in filing false claims.
In a recent St. Louis area case, a former insurance adjuster pleaded guilty to mail fraud last week. Prosecutors had accused the man of filing false claims. The man had admitted doing so.
The 33-year-old man had worked for Allianz Insurance. He allegedly filed more than $400,000 in false insurance claims and diverted the proceeds to himself.
The type of insurance involved was property insurance. It was designed to cover property damage for the employees of Allianz clients who move to a new city as part of their jobs.
Prosecutors charged that the man falsified claims for more than two years, from March 2010 to September 2012. As a result, Allianz made payments to a salvage company that didn't really exist - and the insurance adjuster cashed checks for his personal use.
The former adjuster will be sentenced in May. He has already forfeited two vehicles and nearly $41,000 to authorities.
Source: "Insurance claims adjuster from St. Louis County admits fraud," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2-15-13
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our page on St. Louis white-collar crime.