10 of the Craziest Insurance Fraud Cases

by Shivam Khandelwal2 years ago
Picture 10 of the Craziest Insurance Fraud Cases

People have always been warned of becoming aware of fraud insurance companies that try to snatch your money, and that’s not considered funny. However, it does seem funny when the tables are turned and swindlers find their way around to claim the insurance cash by faking the conditions required. Here is a list of 10 of the craziest insurance fraud cases.

1 In December 2008, Atul Shah and Mahaveer Kankariya, two jewelry business owners in New York, staged a heist from their own store. They hired two men to wear costumes and fake a break-in to their shop and filed a $7 million claim with their insurers, Llyods of London. 

Atul Shah and Mahaveer Kankariya
Atul Shah sitting on the left and his business partner Mahaveer Kankariya on the right (Image to the left); Fake robbery in progress. Image Credit: DNAinfo/John Marshall Mantel via dnainfo.com, dailymail.co.uk

The jewelry shop owners were struggling with their business, so, they came up with the phony heist as the only solution to acquire the wealth they wanted. 

They hired two men that were dressed as Hasidic Jews, wearing fake beards and carrying fake guns. The hired robbers broke into the shop on New Year’s eve in 2008. According to Shah, they forced him to open the safe and took $9 million in jewels. 

For evidence, they also left duct tape, plastic ties, and the entire store in disarray for police. 

The fake heist was conducted successfully, but the insurers were suspicious because the jewelry business was already hundreds of thousands of debt. Eventually, the security cameras revealed that Shah and Kankariya had replaced the jewels in the safe with empty boxes hours before the thieves showed up. 

Even though they poured drain cleaner on the cameras to destroy the footage, the images survived. Shah, 49, and Kankariya, 44, were convicted of insurance fraud and other crimes and faced a jail sentence for between one to 25 years. (Source)


2 Sholam Weiss looted the National Heritage Life Insurance Company by organizing a criminal coalition of businessmen who defrauded people and made $450 million. Weiss was convicted and sentenced to 845 years in prison in February 2000. 

Sholam Weiss
Sholam Weiss in the middle (Image to the left). Image Credit: Belaaz News/ Twitter.com, Shutterstock.com

Weiss was initially a Brooklyn-based businessman. However, with several others, he defrauded the National Heritage Life Insurance Company in 1993 and again the following year. The federal authorities considered the scandal as the largest insurance company failure caused by a criminal act in American history. 

The insurance company that was defrauded was based in Orlando, Florida. The majority of policyholders of the insurance company were from Florida, too. Weiss didn’t stay long in one place after he fled. 

He eluded authorities of South America, Europe, and Israel, using multiple, false identities. He often suffered from panic attacks and was fond of gambling. The investigators usually checked casinos for a trace of him.

In American criminal history, Sholam Weiss masterminded one of the largest insurance frauds. He was found by the authorities by following his 27-year-old girlfriend. (Source)


3 In California, four women faked a non-existent man, Jim Davis’, death, created fraudulent papers, and paid actors to visit his funeral. One of them acted as the deceased’s niece. The beneficiary claimed a life insurance payment of $1.2 million. The fraud was eventually exposed. 

 Jim Davis
Image is used for representational purposes only. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

Jean Crump, one of the four criminals, purchased the life insurance policies for Jim Davis naming his supposed nephew and niece as beneficiaries. The fraudsters had created fake documents including Davis’ death certificate. 

The insurers paid off the claims directly to the mortuary, which was owned by another criminal, Lydia Pearce. The other two were Faye Shilling, who took take care of the filings of insurance claims, and Ann Lynn, who was a notary public who used her stamp to make the fake documents appear legitimate. 

Through the mortuary, the fraudsters received $260,000 for life insurance. After paying the claim, two insurance companies were a little suspicious, so they hired an investigator to look into the matter. 

The women were frightened by the questions asked by the investigator. They left Jim Davis’ coffin unburied. The casket was found filled with a mannequin and cow parts that were present to ensure the appropriate weight. 

Contradictorily, the con artists had claimed in the paperwork that Davis was cremated and his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean. All four of them were caught and convicted for their crimes. (1, 2)


4 A playboy, peer Lord Brocket, tried to repay mounting debts by filing an insurance claim for his three Ferraris and a Maserati, collectively valued at £4.3 million. However, in reality, the cars had been broken up and buried around his estate, Brocket Hall. 

Lord Brocket
Lord Brocket in his apartment (Image to the left); Removal vans: Lord Brocket sent a fleet of lorries to Brocket Hall, his family home in Hertfordshire. Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk, South Beds News Agency/dailymail.co.uk

The 42-year-old aristocrat Lord Brocket was a polo-playing friend of Prince of Wales. He had a stunning collection of 42 rare cars that were all bought using a hefty bank loan. The ancestral home, Brocket Hall, was earning considerable profit as a conference venue and golf course.

Things started to change after 1991 with Desert Storm, or the first Gulf War. Amidst the global financial shock, the Brocket family came up with a crooked plan to work their way around the mounting debts. 

The four cars were reported stolen that same year and the headlines were spread across the UK. They claimed that the thieves just came and somehow disabled the alarms and left without a clue. 

The story was too good to be believable, and soon the rumors were flowing that the cars had been sunk in Brocket Hall’s lake or buried under its golf course. Despite it being suggested that he destroy any evidence, the Lord decided to just dismantle the cars and hide them away. He assumed that if the insurance didn’t pay, the cars could be miraculously found and rebuilt.

No truth came out until 1995 when the Lord’s ex-wife revealed everything to the police. In the end, he never received any money, and the bank showed up when he admitted everything. He was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2005 but actually served less than half of it. (1, 2)


5 An oncologist, Dr. Farid Fata, falsely diagnosed more than 500 people with cancer, but they never had it. He subjected them to unnecessary treatments, including chemotherapy, for which he fraudulently billed over $30 million to their insurance. 

Dr. Farid Fata
Dr. Farid Fata (Image to the left); Victims Face Down Dr. Farid Fata in Cancer-Fraud Case. Image Credit: Detroitnews. com, Anna R. Schecter / NBC News via nbcnews.com

Fata’s chemotherapy clients never had cancer, nor did they require treatment or expensive support care medications. 

There were seven offices owned by Fata in eastern Michigan including an in-house chemotherapy a radiation oncology practice, and a diagnostic testing company. He also had his own cancer charity, Swan for Life. 

The scandal that Fata conducted started unraveling in July 2013 when one of his clients was suspicious of his treatments. When he was convicted, the doctor admitted his guilt and apologized for them. 

He said that he was horribly ashamed that he misused his talent for power and greed. Several of the victims were disappointed to see the possible 175 years of sentence not being applied but instead, just 45 years. However, the oncologist mentioned that he prays daily for his victims’ forgiveness.

Fata was charged with 16 different federal charges in September 2014 and was sentenced to 45 years of prison. Moreover, the charges included mistreating patients with inappropriate parenteral vitamins octreotide, and potent antiemetics. Around the same time of arrest, his wife fled to the Middle East with their children. (Source)

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