With any system, there are people trying to game it. This was the case for Philadelphia chiropractor Lawrence S. Herman, who has been sentenced to five months in prison because of a falsely submitted personal insurance claim.
While fraud only comprises a small percentage of submitted insurance claims, they can be costly, and unfairly burden everyone else who relies on their insurance to cover them when something bad happens. Every year, scam insurance claims for auto injuries add up to about $5 billion.
Herman was in an accident back in 2012, and submitted a claim for injuries. As evidence, Herman showed that he had received chiropractic treatment for injuries to his neck and back. His insurance company, the U.S. Automobile Association, originally denied his claim. Herman then hired a lawyer and sued the company for $60,000.
Prosecutors, though, weren’t buying his story. They pointed out that the accident which supposedly caused the ongoing injuries was a “minor, fender-bender type accident” and that Herman was running multiple marathons at the same time he was supposedly recovering from, and receiving treatment for back injuries.
Herman finally admitted during his guilty plea hearing that he had fabricated his injury, and that he had never received treatment. Instead, he had, allegedly, told an employee of his practice to create the medical records and then submit them using fake company letterhead.
The prosecutors were also not impressed that Herman continually tried to shift the blame for his crime, first accusing his personal injury lawyers who drafted the insurance settlement demand, and then the employee who he had asked to falsify the records.
“Personal stresses, provided by work pressures and economic circumstances resulting from the divorce, weakened Mr. Herman’s judgment and contributed to precipitating the infraction,” said Michael McCarrie, Herman’s lawyer, in a memorandum for the court.