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It’s Here: 2021 Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame

Each year, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud releases the newest Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame inductees, the worst of the worst in insurance fraud scams, and 2021’s list is, as expected, horrifying and disappointing. The list serves as a deterrent, a conduit to bring awareness to the $80 BILLION per year impact on all of our pockets, and also to demonstrate that these crimes are certainly not victimless.

Here we share the 7 newest inductees for 2021 according to Ad Duvall of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud:

1. “Freeway reign of error: Truckers framed for setup crashes”

“Busy freeways stretching around New Orleans were frightening ordeals for truckers passing through town.

Damian Labeaud led a sprawling crime ring that maneuvered innocent big rig drivers into at least 40 sideswipes and collisions.

Labeaud packed cars with passengers like motorized sardine cans. Then he and his cohorts staged the freeway crashes, claiming the innocent truckers were at fault. The passengers were unharmed, yet lied they had painful neck and back whiplash injuries. Many passengers were ghosts. They weren’t even in the cars, yet claimed they were hurt.

Labeaud feasted on the truckers’ insurers with millions of dollars in dummied-up injury claims. Whiplash is a hard-to-prove soft-tissue injury. Unlike broken bones that can easily show up in X-rays, whiplash is easy to fake and hard for insurers to medically dispute.”

2. “Hookah arson hoax ruins historic old neighborhood”

“Imad and Bahaa Dawara’s flailing efforts to run a hookah bar had fizzled. They were $64,000 behind on rent, and feuding with their landlord. Their final bet to make money on the failed venture: torch the place for $750,000 of insurance money.

The brothers botched insurance fraud even worse than they ran their hookah bar. The explosive gasoline fire ruined a scenic old neighborhood on Chestnut Street in the heart of Philadelphia’s historic district. Flames and smoke drove hundreds of people from their businesses and homes, killed pets and caused millions in damage.

The Dawaras’ landlord had reached the end of his patience. Unpaid rent piled up, and the landlord also wouldn’t let them hire a DJ or use hookahs. So the brothers shuttered the bar, and the landlord permanently ejected them.”

3. “Father drives autistic kids off pier for life-insurance payday”

“Onlookers heard the tires screech as Ali F. Elmezayen’s car sped down a commercial fishing wharf and shot into the harbor at Los Angeles.

The Honda Civic quickly sank in 20-30 feet of murky salt water. Elmezayen swam out through the open driver-side window. His two autistic kids were tightly strapped in child seats. They never had a chance and drowned, still in their seats.

Elmezayen also tried to drown his ex-wife. Rabab Diab couldn’t swim yet luckily she was rescued by fisherman after barely escaping through the car window.

Elmezayen portrayed the wreck as a horrible accident. In fact it was stone-cold murder. Elhassan (age 13) and Abdelkrim (age 8) needed high levels of medical care, including state support. So the Egyptian native bought more than $7 million of life and accidental- death policies on himself, the kids’ lives and Diab.

The accelerator pedal was his chance to cash in. His kids and wife were mere profit centers, not a family.”

4. “OB-GYN maims women with useless surgeries to steal $21 million”

“Women trusted Dr. Javaid Perwaiz, their tragically reassuring OB-GYN. Today, many former patients wrestle with consuming anger, betrayal and chronic pain. Perwaiz convinced them to have painful hysterectomies and other irreversible surgeries they didn’t need, maiming many for life.

Perwaiz’s supercharged scalpel made him Ferrari-rich from nearly $21 million of dollars he received from false and inflated insurance billings.

Fully 173 women reported unneeded surgeries under the Chesapeake, Va. OG-GYN’s supposed care. Perwaiz also botched many of the procedures; some women still suffer from chronic pain and other complications. Patients often were left with large scars as permanent reminders of his money-churning insurance scheme."

5. “Military insurer rifled for $510 million of worthless compound medicines”

“Bland-looking tubes of creamy compound medicines were worth more than gold and diamonds to Wade Walters. His low-key pharmacy in Hattiesburg, Miss. began as the nerve center of a sprawling $510-million siphoning of health insurers — especially Tricare, the federal military insurer.

Walters rapidly grew rich by hawking expensive and medically worthless compound medicines — mostly to young U.S. military service members around the U.S. who didn’t need the stuff.

And hard-working taxpayers footed his insurance bills.

Compound meds are flypaper for insurance fraud. They cost insurers much more than standard medicines. Ideally, compounds are hand-mixed and customized for each patient. That makes the stuff expensive — billed to insurers for thousands of dollars per tube.

Targeting military members made sense to Walters. Military life can be hard and physical. So Walters’ fraud ring pureed compound pain and scar creams, and vitamin pills. For Tricare, the service members plausibly needed the medicines.

More to the point, the glop was lucrative for Walters. Some pain creams, which contained ketamine or tramadol — both controlled substances — were falsely billed to Tricare and other insurers for up to $14,000 per tube.”

6. “Pregnant Mexican women duped into buying fake maternity coverage”

“More than 250 pregnant women from Mexico believed they bought affordable health insurance that let them legally give birth in the U.S., while covering the large maternity expenses.

Instead the trusting women were foils for a scheme that stole premium dollars the lower- income women could scarcely afford to lose. The ruse also imperiled their U.S. non- resident visas — their lifelines to an income and better living.

Melissa Alvarez Torres and Jose Luis Olmos Hernandez set up the women, who’d hoped for their private slice of the American Dream. The San Diego-area duo lured the women into buying coverage for which they weren’t eligible. The goal: steal their hard-earned premium money.”

7. "Crime ring peddles $78 million of unsafe, black-market drugs"

“Police raided a Miami-area house. They found a batch of prescription pills, seemingly being moved by a small-time drug ring.

In fact, the basic search discovered a fast-growing criminal network that would balloon into a $78-million scheme that exploited a thriving black market for expensive prescription drugs around the U.S.

Joshua Ryan Joles was a key drug mover in the operation, which hauled in $78 million by reselling large volumes of stolen medicines for high-profit markups throughout the U.S. Life-giving drugs for HIV, cancer and psychiatric illnesses were the ring’s stock in trade.

Thousands of bottles of potentially defective drugs ended in the hands of unknowing consumers. They had no idea their health was imperiled by drugs that often were expired, deliberately mislabeled, or decayed from unsafe storage."

Full stories here.

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