troit doctor convinced many patients to
get spinal fusion surgeries they didn’t
need. Sabit did surgeries on nearly everyone who walked into his clinic.
The pain continued long after a bungled surgery for some patients. He also
sliced open and closed some patients
without doing any repair work at all. Ton-occa Scott must wear a back brace with a
DVD case taped inside to keep his spine
straight. He can sit for only a few minutes
and has placed his dream of a computer-technology career on hold.
A repeat offender, Sabit pulled a similar
scam in California, where he implanted
unneeded devices and performed unnecessary surgery. Sabit could spend up to 11
years in federal prison when sentenced.
Vacationing in his native Venezuela
proved fatal, at least according to Jose
Lantigua’s death certificate. He supposedly died from an illness and was cremated there, except the Jacksonville,
Florida, resident bribed bureaucrats to issue forged death documents in a fumbled
plot to fake his death for approximately
$9 million in life insurance.
He sought a passport using a North
Carolina driver license in the name of a
postal worker whose identity he had stolen. Lantigua’s height, eyes, hair color and
other identifiers were significantly different from Ernest Wills, Lantigua’s victim.
The fraudster will spend up to 12 years in
prison when sentenced.
THERESA FISHER &
Fisher and Hardgraves ran a surgery cen-
ter in Orange County, California. Insur-
ers were billed $71 million, much of it
for uninsured plastic surgery charged as
legitimate medical treatment. Over $50
million was paid to the women before the
fraudulent scheme was discovered.
They bribed patients with tummy tucks,
breast enlargements and liposuction. The
tradeoff: The patients underwent insured
surgeries they didn’t need — endoscopies,
colonoscopies and others.
Tummy tucks were billed as hernia
operations. Nose jobs were deviated septums. Patients were also coached on how
to fake symptoms and foil insurers. Fisher
received three years in federal prison and
Hardgraves five months.
More than 17,000 trusting consumers
thought they’d bought legitimate health
insurance only to find out it was fake.
The South Carolina-based Worthy
erected a large network of fake health
insurers geared solely to steal premiums.
It was one of the largest such scams in
The ring stole up to $28 million in pre-
miums, even fleecing church pastors with
a bogus insurance plan. Consumers were
often left with huge medical bills they had
to pay themselves — more than $7 mil-
Worthy’s unlicensed insurers routinely
denied legitimate claims. He used the
customer premiums to support a princely
lifestyle and will possibly spend decades
in federal prison when sentenced.
The Minneapolis-area man beat his
10-year-old son, Barway, to death and
then duct-taped his body and tossed him
into the Mississippi River like cordwood
for just $50,000 in life-insurance money.
Collins had paid the premiums just
two days before Barway disappeared and
he had also asked the insurer about raising the coverage on Barway from $30,000
to $50,000. For Collins, that was the market price of a child’s life.
He owed child support for multiple
children and was unemployed. Cell-phone
pings placed him near the spot where
Barway’s body was found. After denying
that he had nothing to do with his son’s
disappearance, he confessed earlier this
year. Collins received 40 years in prison.
These convicted Hall of Shamers are
helping to brand insurance fraud as a
crime that society should oppose with
greater resolve. And they are publicly positioning fraud fighters as effective crime
busters intent on shining a light on a
crime that impacts everyone.
Dennis Jay is the executive director
of the Coalition Against Insurance
Fraud. More information is
available at InsuranceFraud.org.