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Top 10 Hilarious Insurance Scams

by Toby Oliva
fact checked by Rachel Jones

Insurance fraud is one of the most persistent challenges that insurers face all over the world. After a claim is made, insurers have little time and resources to carry out investigations and, in the end, they pay premiums to customers. However, a special group of “creative” individuals try to take advantage of the system and get some free cash along the way. While some fraudulent individuals get away with insurance scams, the “not so smart” ones get caught after making the dumbest decisions ever.

This list of the ten most hilarious insurance scams shows that even a cop can try to cheat the system to get that free payday.

10 Cop Reported Lost Car But Kept Driving It For 3 Years

In New Jersey, Suliman Kamara, a police officer, claimed that his car had been stolen. In good faith, Kamara’s insurer paid off the $10,000 claim to settle the dues, all according to plan. But, the only flaw in the plan was that Kamara never got rid of the car. He kept driving it!

Three years after the payment, an insurance representative noticed the same car on Kamara’s driveway. Investigations revealed that Kamara had switched licensed plates and continued to drive the same car. Talk about having confidence in your own skills as a fraudster!

Kamara faced five years in prison for an auto insurance scam and at least $15,000 in fines. So much more being a law-abiding citizen.

9 Create A Fake Cat And Then Fake Its Death!

As far as insurance fraud goes, this one is craziest, and it involved an unlikely pair, a man and his imaginary cat. Yevgeniy Samsonov contacted his insurer, claiming that he needed to be covered to the sum of $20,000 for the death of his pet cat.

In his wisdom, Samsonov quoted a past accident where he had been in a car accident. Samsonov claimed that his precious cat had also died during his 2009 fender-bender, where he received $3,500 for back pain. However, his insurer didn’t budge and after offering $50, Samsonov had a fresh idea.

After sending pictures of his alleged cat to prove its value, company agents linked the image to a Wikipedia page where Samsonov had downloaded it. Samsonov’s lies invited more problems. He faced a year in jail. In the end, he didn’t have a cat or the money.

8 Fire Ate Up My Convertible And My House

Nicolas DiPuma, a resident of Delaware, attempted a creative insurance fraud, but his major weakness was that he got too greedy. In his claim, which was accompanied by a very detailed story, DiPuma claimed that while he was cooking on his wooden stove, a fire started and spread to nearby coals. Such a claim might be believable on any scale, and if he had chosen to stop here, the insurers would have believed him.

But, DiPuma’s story got better as he explained that he scooped the coal with a bucket in the heat of the confusion and threw it out his door. According to DiPuma, some coal landed on his sofa, and the other bunch on his car parked outside. 

In the end, DiPuma asked for compensation for the fire damage to both his house and convertible. Sadly, after law enforcement investigated the case, DiPuma didn’t get a dime. Instead, he got insurance fraud charges and 5 years of probation. DiPuma got zero insurance benefits and a record, a perfect lose-lose scenario.

7 I Slipped And Fell, Now You Must Pay Me!

Should you be paid if you slip and fall in a store? Isabel Parker, a 72-year-old grandma, loved to go out like any other lady her age but whenever she entered a store, Isabel slipped and fell. Parker, who was later dubbed the “Queen of slip and fall,” had perfected the insurance fraud so well that it was just like a real job.

In Philadelphia, Delaware County, and New Jersey, Parker collected insurance claims for slipping in liquor stores and supermarkets. In about seven years the cunning grandma had fallen 49 times and most of them, she was compensated. Yet, thanks to the power of the camera, her falls were proven to be fake.

Before the truth was revealed, Isabel Parker had collected about $500,000 in phony claims from insurance companies across the three jurisdictions between 1993 and 2000. Isabel faced 16 counts of insurance fraud in New Jersey and at least 20 in Philadelphia and Delaware. Parker’s lawyer would later reveal that Parker’s addiction and ease of collecting insurance claims were major motivations for his client.

6 Help, There’s A Mouse In My Soup!

Mother’s Day weekend is special for all moms but for Carla Patterson, it’s a perfect day for some scheming. Together with her son, Ricky Patterson, the two tried to defraud a Virginia Craker Barrel restaurant of $500,000. Carla claimed that she had found a mouse in her vegetable soup! Gross.

The incident was a huge deal in America and for Cracker Barrel, the controversy was harmful to business. The restaurant even had to stop serving vegetable soup across the nation since customers believed Patterson’s version of the story. The good thing is that after investigations, it became clear that Paula Patterson had intentionally planted the mouse in her soup.

The jury found Carla guilty of extortion, and together with her son, she was sentenced to a year in prison, banned from Cracker Barrel, and ordered to pay $2,500 in fines. It’s shocking the extent to which people can go just to make some free money!

5 I Lost My Hand In An Accident, Please Pay Me? 

Would you accidentally lose your hand so that you can collect payments from your dismemberment policy? Michael LeDuc had the incredible idea to collect insurance on a lost arm, but the only problem was that he didn’t actually lose his hand.

After forging medical records to support the claim that he had “lost” his hand to a wood chipper accident, LeDuc claimed payment of $251,000. To ensure that the claim was “stronger,” LeDuc even made phone calls across state lines to follow up on his claim to ensure that everything goes by smoothly.

Despite the genius plan, the problem was that his hands were still intact and after what was a very short investigation, the authorities saw through the forgery. LeDuc ended up in jail with a 57-month sentence. The only good thing is that he got to keep his precious hand.

4 I Will Shoot Myself And Blame It On Someone Else!

Jeffrey Stenroos was a police officer in a Los Angeles school area and one day, he had the idea that he could stage a shooting and collect insurance. Reporting the shooting, Jeffrey claimed that he had been shot by a man with a ponytail and bomber jacket.

In quick response, the entire area was shut down and for 10 hours, 550 police officers combed the area hunting the shooter. Even kids from nine schools stayed in lockdown. According to the LAPD, doubt crept in once the search proved useless. On further probing, Jeffrey couldn’t keep his story straight; they suspected deception.

In the case that followed, Jeffrey was accused of shooing himself, insurance fraud, and planting evidence. Jeffrey’s woes didn’t end there as he had to pay $309,000 as compensation to the city.

3 How Much Do You Hate Your Wife? 

Evana Roth from New York was a sad woman mourning the disappearance and death of her husband. He had gone swimming, never to be seen again. As she planned the funeral, the devastated Evana stumbled on strange emails that suggested that the hubby had planned to “disappear.”

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” After finding out that her husband had deceived her, Roth reported the matter to the police and held a press conference. Investigations revealed that Raymond Roth was alive and well, taking time off on vacation in sunny Florida as he awaited his insurance to be cashed in. Contrary to plans, things went south really fast!

Investigations revealed that before the disappearance, Mr. Roth had increased his insurance and even put their family house up for sale so that he would have a big payday. While it was was a huge bum. In the end, death did not do the Roths’ apart. The love of money did!

2 Back On Your Mortgage? Fake Your Death 

In Britain, John Darwin, a former teacher and prison officer, decided to fake his own death to collect the life insurance claim. In what would later inspire a BBC documentary on insurance fraud, John orchestrated his fateful death with a canoe accident.

The only problem was that in 2007, five years later, John Darwin came back from the dead, long after his wife had collected the £250,000 life insurance. The two had been pictured enjoying a vacation in Panama a year before, the clue that arose suspicions among the authorities! Inquiries later revealed that Darwin had even stayed in his house and the one next door, proving that the death was just a ploy to get the insurance money.

In 2008, the scheming couple was sentenced to six years in prison, ending a fraud that could have almost been a perfect crime. “Canoe Man,” as the British press knew him, ended up counting his losses rather than wins. Life after death is really hard to pull off. 

1 In Debt? Just Burn Your Ferraris

Lord Brocket of the “I’m a Celebrity” fame was once great at collecting classic sports cars that earned him revenue as decorations in his conference hall. However, after the conference, business suffered a slowdown, Brocket was in debt. As a solution, the Lord decided to fake the disappearance of three Ferraris and a Maserati.

In 1991, Lord Brocket, alongside his trusted two estate workers, broke and dismantled a Ferrari 340 America, Ferrari 195 Inter, a Ferrari 250 Europa, and a Maserati Birdcage. After burning away most parts and locking away smaller parts, Brocket lodged a claim for £4.3 million, which is what the cars were worth, collectively.

But things didn’t go as planned for Brocket as both the police and insurers were suspicious. After the insurer refused to pay, the confident Brocket headed to court, a case that was withdrawn after the bank offered him a £15m rescue package. The genius plan disintegrated later when his estranged wife, Lady Isabell Lorenzo, turned him in to escape charges of forging prescriptions in 1994. In the end, Brocket was jailed for seven years for obtaining money by deception.

fact checked by Rachel Jones