Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Insurance Fraud And Other White Collar Crime Alleged In Salem, Massachussets

Yesterday’s Salem News told of 31 year old Peabody resident Tyler P. According to prosecutors, he is an enterprising young man with a taste for some of the nicer things in life. Unfortunately, they also claim that his methods of financing such things were not so nice. So they went out and got him something they knew he had not already gotten for himself. They got it from the local grand jury. You guessed it, it’s a brand new indictment.

Mr. P. now faces a multi-count indictment alleging four counts of felony larceny, three counts of insurance fraud, three counts of filing a false police report, forgery, attempted larceny and uttering a forged instrument.

Mr. P. first came to the attention of insurance company investigators last spring after a series of claims raised red flags at Arbella Mutual, the company that insured his car. A year earlier, in July 2007, he had added rental car coverage to his auto insurance policy. An hour after adding the coverage, he called again to say he had been involved in an accident. While the car was waiting to be repaired, prosecutors in the attorney general’s office allege, he filed a false police report with the Beverly police, claiming that his car had been vandalized and reported the vandalism to Arbella.

They claim that this was done in hopes that the car would be totaled. Instead, Arbella turned the case over to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, a private organization that works with insurance companies and prosecutors. The IFB concluded that Mr. P. had misrepresented the timing of the crash so that he could qualify for the rental coverage, which he did not have at the actual time of the accident. This conclusion, led to a closer look at some past insurance claims by Mr. P.

It turns out, according to investigators, that 2007 had been a very busy year for Mr. P. In May, Mr.P. had filed an insurance claim that an engagement ring he had purchased was stolen as he was on his way to dinner in Salem. According to investigators, he bolstered the claim with a forged Salem police report. In March and July, he is said to have twice claimed that his ATM card had been stolen and that someone had made withdrawals from his account.

He is scheduled to make his Criminal Justice debut in Salem Superior Court on Oct. 22nd
Sam’s take:

Mr. P.’s plight provides a couple of lessons for us which are true in most cases of alleged white collar crime.

First of all, it may seem obvious to some, but I know it is not obvious to others. Falsifying in any way, including “just a smidgen” of exaggeration on an insurance claim form is illegal. It is a crime. It is fraud. Do not do it. Yes, even changing the date. You may be able to change history with your friends or your family…but not with the insurance company or such entities. They have a motivation to not go along with it…they are not terribly anxious to cut you the check you want.

Perhaps Mr. P. is one of those honest individuals who are unlucky in life. Perhaps he is a guy who saw a “good” scam and pounded it into the ground in front of a sign that read, ” Greed Is Good; Overdo It”. Either way, he is in big trouble and the alleged facts and circumstances do not look good.

The key here is that, probably even before he knew it for sure, there was an investigation. Assuming Mr. P. is at all conscious of reality, he must have suspected there such an investigation was possible. Further, such investigators usually notify the suspect at some point, alerting them about the investigation. This is done for two reasons. First, to give the insured an opportunity to not cooperate with their investigation. This refusal to cooperate relieves the insurance company of responsibility to honor the claim.

Such investigations are also used to help law enforcement. It is a way of pressuring the insured to submit to interrogation and produce documents in a venue where the investigator is not hampered by the inconveniences that police officers must respect, such as reading a suspect his rights and the like. Many people, figuring that all that is at stake is not getting their money, feel they can handle this without a lawyer.

And they can.

They are also free to walk around wearing a t-shirt saying, “I must have done something wrong…arrest me”. In other words, it is a foolhardy thing to do, particularly if you know that the insurance company suspects you of fraud. While some may say that Mr. P.’s history is a bit extreme, even less extreme cases can end up listed in an indictment. The fact is that some people are ignorant of certain laws. Further, mistakes can be made. Whether you feel you did something wrong or not…protect yourself.

The bottom line here is that, at the first suspicion of such an investigation, or at least when notified by the insurance company that it suspects fraud, get an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process. Especially in times like this, with the current events wreaking havoc with the economy, the insurance companies and government tend to take these things serious. When fraud is alleged, you are not simply at risk of losing the money; you are could lose your liberty too.

The full article of this story can be found at
http://www.salemnews.com/punews/local_story_268000836.html

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