Filing a claim with your auto insurance company may seem to you to be more difficult than it has to be. You know that you're filing the claim in good faith, so why do you have to wait or jump through hoops to get your money and get back on the road? But the truth is, plenty of people do try to take advantage of their auto insurance policies, so the companies have to be diligent on order to protect themselves from fraudsters. Luckily, many of the people who try to defraud their insurance companies are nowhere near as smart as they think they are. That's why stories like these wind up in the news.
It's common knowledge that teachers really don't get paid enough. Maybe that's why chemistry teacher Tramesha Lashon Fox was three months behind on her car payments. Rather than starting up a drug empire a la Walter White, Fox enlisted her students' help in a different way. She offered two students who were failing her chemistry class the opportunity to pass, if they stole her car and set it on fire so that she could collect the insurance money. They did so, after some convincing, and true to her word, Fox gave one of them a 90% and the other an 80%, allowing both to pass her class.
Unfortunately for all of them, Fox wasn't very subtle about her deception. She bought a new car before even reporting her old car as stolen. Both students and teacher were arrested after the car was found in the woods 12 days after the theft. Fox eventually received 90 days in jail, five years of deferred adjudication, and revocation of her teaching license.
Many people who wind up in wheelchairs aren't lucky enough to go on to compete in triathlons and climb mountains. But most people aren't Samuel Aaron Brabson, who attempted to use his injuries from a car accident to cash in on a healthy accident policy.
After a serious car accident in 2001, and then a less-than-serious accident in 2005, Brabson used more than $100,000 of medical care and equipment and was attempting to cash in on a $1.3 million dollar accident insurance policy, while claiming to be disabled. He insisted that he was dependent on a wheelchair and hid his recovery from medical workers. However, in his spare time, Brabson was mowing his lawn, participating in triathlons, and climbing mountains. When caught red-handed at a grocery store with no wheelchair or obvious impairment, Brabson claimed to be his own twin brother. The only problem? He didn't have a twin brother. He was convicted of fraud and attempt to commit larceny by fraud.
You would hope that a police officer would be honest enough not to try to commit insurance fraud. However, you would also think that if a police officer did try to commit fraud, they would know enough about the law to be able to get away with it. Officer Suliman Kamara, however, was neither honest nor smart.
In 2009, Kamara reported his vehicle stolen and received more than $10,000 from the auto insurance company for it. Three years later, an insurance company representative found the same car parked outside Kamara's house. And it wasn't just that he loved the old car and decided to buy the same make and model – the car outside of Kamara's home was the exact car that had been reported stolen and paid for. It was not-so-cleverly disguised by the new license plates that Kamara had attached to it. Otherwise, it was the exact same car, down to the VIN number. For his crime, Officer Kamara faced a possible five years in prison.
The next time that you have to file an auto insurance claim, cut the insurers some slack if you feel that they're being overly cautious. You would be extra careful too, if you often came across claims like these.