6 Strangest Insurance Fraud Cases in History


Get rich quick schemes have been a last ditch effort for many people over the years. As such, many ways to earn easy money have been developed, ranging from clever and tricky, to shameless and stupid. The scheme that we are here to talk about today, however, is insurance fraud.

Insurance fraud can arrive in various forms, but are rarely crimes of true masterminds. To get a better grasp on some of the lengths people will go to attempt insurance fraud, we will be taking a look at several examples of insurance fraud that almost seemed too crazy to actually work.

Here are the six strangest insurance fraud cases in history:

1. Gerald Hardin & David Player Insurance Fraud Case

Many insurance fraud cases occur because greed can make people do horrific things. A pretty good example of this would be when Gerald Hardin and David Player forcibly cut off a friend’s hand in order to claim an insurance policy. If that sounds like a really bad idea to you, then you aren’t exactly wrong.

Hardin and Player used a pole saw to saw off the victim’s hand, then submitted three accidental death and dismemberment policies against a homeowner. This resulted in a received sum of over $671,000. However, the more shocking aspect of this crime was that it occurred in 2008, but was not uncovered by authorities until 2012.

Player was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, while Hardin received a mere 3 years.

2. Isabel Parker Insurance Fraud Case

An interesting thing about insurance fraud cases is that virtually any type of person can commit this crime. Isabel Parker proved this when she committed a string of slip-and-fall schemes between the years of 1993 and 2000. She was finally caught at the tender age of 72, and admitted to receiving around $500,000 in false claims during her criminal career.

After getting caught, Parker was sentenced to six months in prison, with 12 years of probation.

3. John Darwin Insurance Fraud Case

Sometimes, a plan moves flawlessly until a single unforeseen issue tears it all down. This was the case for John Darwin, of course. His fraudulent career began when he faked his death in a canoeing accident, allowing his wife to draw a hefty sum of life insurance money from the supposed tragedy.

In reality, however, the two fled to Panama where they lived the good life. That is, until those pesky visa laws changed and demanded increased identity verification for all. As you can imagine, this was an issue for the not-so-dearly departed Darwin.

Following this change, Darwin returned to where he originated, the U.K. and proceeded to fake amnesia to explain his unexpected reappearance. This didn’t fly very well as his insurance fraud case was exposed, leaving both he and his wife in prison.

4. Jim Davis Insurance Fraud Case

As children, imaginary friends are nothing to be too concerned about. As adults, however, having one typically means that something is fishy. For four Californian women, a made up man by the name of “Jim Davis” was their ticket to both wealth and trouble.

The women created this imaginary man, and then proceeded to fake his death… Complete with a fake funeral with actors posing as mourners. Their efforts paid off, though, and the women received a whopping $1.2 million in life insurance benefits.

With such a significant amount of funds coming their way, it was inevitable that an investigation would be launched into the death of Jim Davis and the women who claimed his insurance money. This investigation disturbed the four fraudsters in such a way that they proceeded to unearth the supposed coffin of Jim Davis, and then filled it with a mannequin and discarded cow parts. This was so the weight of the coffin would be believable when they sent it to a crematory. This allowed them to file more phony paperwork claiming that mystery man Jim Davis was scattered across the Pacific Ocean.

However, this complex plan wasn’t enough to help the ladies escape their crime, and each of the four were sentenced accordingly.

5. Michael LeDuc Insurance Fraud Case

A dismemberment policy can be collected when a person loses a limb. The key information here is that the loss of a limb is necessary for the policy to be valid. This is something that Michael LeDuc ignored when he attempted to submit forged medical records stating that he had lost an arm to a wood chipper.

That is something that’s easy to state, but difficult to prove when you clearly have all of your appendages intact. It was easy enough for his insurer to realize that he had not, in fact, been involved in an accident with a wood chipper. His insurance fraud case was exposed and LeDuc suffered the consequences.

6. Ronald Moore Insurance Fraud Case

There’s something admirable about people who see an opportunity and take their shot with it. However, not all opportunities are golden. This was the case for Ronald Moore, who saw a bus crash that appeared to be rather serious. Upon seeing the incident, Moore found himself with a bright idea, and proceeded to board the troubled bus.

His plan was to pretend to be a passenger on the bus who sustained injuries during the accident. Of course, cameras are common in the modern day and he was caught boarding the bus after the accident had occurred.

Plus, the “serious” crash turned out to be nothing more than a light bump by a fellow taxi cab and most likely would not have resulted in any kind of injury for anyone on board.

Moore was sentenced to 2 years of probation accompanied by a fine of $1000.