Thief Steals $15,000 Bike Using Electronic Device

As we’ve reported earlier thieves have been using an “unknown device” to gain access into vehicles and steal the contents in the vehicle.

These electronic “scanner boxes” allows the thief to mimic the signal emitted by key fobs that open car doors with the click of a button. Once inside, thieves can steal personal items.

Sausalito (CA) police said last Thursday a man used this same type of device to unlock a vehicle. Surveillance footage shows the suspect casing a parked black Audi. He approaches the car and taps the passenger’s door handle. The doors unlock and the man is able to walk away with a suitcase and a $15,000 Cervelo custom bike.

Video courtesy of ABC 7 KGO

Fraud Files: Deadly Theft Ring

FraudFilesDeadlyTheftRingIn this edition of Fraud Files we take a look at a multi-jurisdictional task force in Missouri that had been investigating multiple vehicle thefts near the Franklin and Jefferson county line.

Officers were going to make an arrest in a garage, near Lonedell, Missouri, when a vehicle with three people inside charged at the officers. The officers then opened fire on the vehicle, striking two men inside and killing one of them.

For more episodes of Fraud Files click here.

Fighting Fraud Through New Technology

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is a not-for-profit organization that receives support from nearly 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. For over 100 years the NICB has partnered with insurers and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the identification, detection and prosecution of insurance criminals.

In January AM Best caught up with NICB CEO Joe Wehrle and took a tour of our New York office to see how we continue to combat insurance fraud on a daily basis.

The Walking Dead: Couple Indicted for Faking Husband’s Death

What would you do for two million dollars? A lot of people would do just about anything to strike it rich these days, but one Minnesota couple took it to the extreme.

Alkon Vorotinov

Alkon Vorotinov (Instagram)

Irina and Igor Vorotinov were indicted Thursday on suspicion of scheming to cheat an insurance company out of $2 million by allegedly faking his death in the family’s homeland of Moldova. Their son, Alkon Vorotinov, was previously indicted for his role in the cover-up, and intends to plead guilty next month.

According to the case against the Vorotinovs, Igor bought a life insurance policy in April 2010. Then in October 2011, police in Moldova were notified about a dead body found along the road. A passport, hotel cards and phone numbers identified the man as Igor Vorotinov.

KMSP has the full story of this bizarre case.

KMSP-TV

Chicago Tow Company Accused of Scamming Customers

As we’ve reported earlier tow trucks scams are becoming a major issue across the country. In Chicago rogue towing has become the most popular trend. That is when tow operators take advantage of accident victims in order to charge exorbitant fees over and above what would be reasonable to tow a vehicle.

One tow company in Chicago has been placing online ads for tows for only $65. However, Natalie Bomke of WFLD-TV found out that wasn’t the case for many victims of this alleged scam.
FOX 32 News Chicago

Three Arrested in Operating Illegal Medical Clinic

Three individuals in Florida were arrested yesterday for allegedly operating an unlicensed clinic in Orlando that was used as part of a personal injury protection (PIP) fraud scheme.

UnityPain

Courtesy: Google Maps

Dr. Lherisson Domond fronted ownership of the clinic, Unity Pain and Injury Center, from February to December 2012, but the clinic was operated by several non-licensed individuals who offered to pay Domond $1,500 a month for use of his name.
An investigation stated the clinic illegally provided medical treatment and physical therapy to individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents. The treatments then were billed to insurers under the patients’ personal injury protection insurance coverage.

The investigation further revealed that two other individuals, Nesly Loute and Pierre Alex Herisse, allegedly hired clinic staff and managed its operations. The three arrested individuals face felony charges for fraud, operating an unlicensed clinic and grand theft that carry sentences of up to 30 years.

Florida Town Experiencing a Rise in Tailgate Thefts

Last year the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported that tailgate thefts increased by 32% in 2013.

The underground market is lively for items that can be acquired at a fraction of their legitimate cost. Tailgates are no exception. While many of these stolen tailgates end up on similar vehicles, others are simply sold for scrap, which contributes to the nationwide problem of metal theft. TailgateTheft

Tailgate thefts can occur anywhere; several episodes of multiple thefts have occurred in single locations, such as auto dealers’ lots and shopping malls. Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.

Florida is fourth in the nation for tailgate thefts and this past week over eight tailgates were targets in Deltona, Florida. WESH-TV filed the following video report on the incidents.

 


Video courtesy of WESH-TV

The NICB recommends these tips to prevent your tailgate from being stolen:

  • First, if your model has an integrated lock, use it. If a tailgate can’t be opened, it can’t be stolen as easily. If you don’t have one, get one; they are relatively inexpensive.
  • Park with the tailgate as close as you can to an object or a structure to prevent the tailgate from opening.
  • Etch the truck’s vehicle identification number (VIN) or your own personal identification number into the tailgate; this will aid in its recovery and may prevent its theft in the first place.

 

Miami Crack Down on Uninsured Drivers

InsuranceCardPoliceSouth Florida officials are cracking down on fraudulent insurance cards after seeing an increase in the region. The problem law enforcement has is that when they make a regular traffic stop they have no way of verifying the authenticity of the card.

Fake insurance cards are sold online where anyone can doctor or by using Internet sites that sell you templates with the disclaimer that they don’t encourage illegal activity.

Because it’s so difficult to identify, agencies are teaming up with insurance companies to crack down on this crime which is a third-degree felony in Florida.


Video courtesy NBC 6

NICB to Boston-Area Homeowners: Beware of Insurance Scammers

BostonSnow

Courtesy: Gene J. Puskar/AP

DES PLAINES, Ill., Feb. 12, 2015 —  As the Northeast continues to get pounded by storm after storm, there’s one more threat that Bostonians need to watch out for:  shady contractors, or “storm chasers,” looking to make a fast but fraudulent buck using your homeowners insurance. Heavy snowfalls are damaging roofs, resulting in an unusually large number of insurance claims, and those storm chasers can’t wait to get their hands on your money.

After a disaster, contractors will often go door-to-door in affected neighborhoods offering clean up, construction or other repair services. Most of these business people are reputable, but many are not. The dishonest ones may execute schemes to defraud innocent victims, such as:

  • pocketing the payment and never showing up for the job;
  • never completing a job that was started; or
  • using inferior materials and performing shoddy work that’s not up to code.

Almost all of these scams are unsolicited—they begin with a knock on the door from a contractor seeking work. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends that “if you didn’t request it, reject it.” If you have storm damage, call your insurance company first.

NICB offers these tips before hiring a contractor:

  • Take pictures of your property before, during and after flooding or other damage
  • Get more than one estimate
  • Get everything in writing:  cost, work to be performed, work and payment schedules, guarantees, and any other expectations
  • Demand references and check them out
  • Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the license number and their vehicle’s license plate number
  • Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms could be added later
  • Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished and ensure reconstruction is up to current code
  • Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier
  • Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them or letting them do unnecessary work
  • Never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy language
  • Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company

For more on disaster fraud, watch this video.