Headlines & Prison Cells: Infamous Tales of Insurance Extortion

Fake deaths, bank rolling on national tragedies, and “Excuse me! Waiter! There’s a mouse in my soup!” — believe it, or not, there are some truly outrageous ways people try to extort money through bogus insurance claims that ultimately result in federal prison sentences. Moreover, these infractions result in higher premiums for you law-abiding types, as insurance companies have to recoup their losses somehow—unfortunately, this comes out of your pocket!

Out of thousands of attempts, here are three of the most outrageous insurance claims to ever make the headlines, as well as fill out prison cells.

1. “There’s a Mouse in My Soup!”

At a Cracker Barrel—a restaurant native to the southern U.S.—a woman by the name of Carla Patterson brought the roof down in a full-blown Academy Award winning performance after she allegedly found a mouse in her vegetable soup.

Unfortunately, no golden statues or $500,000 insurance settlements—the amount she tried to extort—were issued as an autopsy on the mouse was ordered. Yes, a mouse autopsy. Results from this test revealed that the mouse didn’t have a trace of soup in its lungs and showed no signs of having been cooked by scalding hot soup.

Sadly, this woman attempted this with the help of her son, landing them both in prison.

2. When National Tragedies Become… Opportunities

Shortly after the terrorist attack that leveled the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, a man by the name of Charles Gavett — from Pike County, Georgia — reported to authorities that his wife had been present in the towers and had been killed. Of course, she was very much alive and was in on the whole thing, as the couple wanted to collect on her term life insurance policy.

In the wake of such a massive tragedy, with so many lives lost, they could have gotten away with it, and would have, had a neighbor not spotted her in town and reported it.

Sadly, this was only the first of many 9/11 insurance extortion attempts; according to insurance companies, they flooded in at a record high.

3. It’s Hard to Fake a Death Without a Body… Or Is It?

Fugitive from the law, Clayton Daniels, and his wife Molly, decided to deal with his infraction by employing a full-scale, movie-like, disappearance act that would not only get him off the police radar, but let them cash in on his $110,000 life insurance policy.

In order to pull this off, they had to fake Clayton’s death, but how do you do that without a body? Well, they went to the cemetery, armed with shovels, and dug one up. The grave that they exploited was that of Charlotte Davis, an elderly woman, who then they dressed in Clayton’s clothes, placed in his car, set it on fire, and then pushed the whole sham off a cliff.

Suspicions, of course, mounted when the insurance company ordered a DNA test — which didn’t match up, of course — and an investigation of the fire, which proved that the fire had initiated from the driver’s seat. If that hadn’t been enough to solidify this couple’s fate, Clayton showing up again a few weeks later with a flimsy disguise — a mustache and dyed hair — as Molly’s new boyfriend, Jake Gregg, surely sealed the deal.

Amongst all these bizarre stories, we are actually trying to convey a message – insurance is no laughing matter! Always deal with trusted providers like Suncorp Life Insurance, where you can be sure you will get the right information so you can make the best decision for your situation.

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