Caffery, Oubre, Campbell & Garrison, L.L.P.
New Iberia
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Don't cut the locks when they are open

Insurance fraud may appear to many as the perfect crime. After all, the perpetrator of the fraud is often an individual, and the victim of the crime is typically a large insurance company. Some individuals may believe because an insurance company handles millions of claims every year, surely they won't suspect their modest claim a fraudulent.

There are many things faulty with that supposition. The idea that merely because an insurance company is in the business of paying millions of dollars in claims, and that they will not miss a few thousand dollars here or there, fails to recognize that it is fraudulent and a crime. 

Because it seems such an easy crime, many make mistakes, which virtually ensure they will be caught and face criminal fraud charges. A woman in Baton Rouge called the Sheriff's office to investigate a padlock being cut on her storage locker. The deputy noted the locker appeared to be full at that time and that she did not indicate there was anything missing.

She then submitted a claim to her insurance company for $20,209 in items stolen from the locker. But there were tell-tale problems with the claim. For one, she apparently was seen with some item she had reported as stolen.

Additionally, the locks she claimed had been cut from the storage locker were examined by a forensic locksmith, who noted that neither had been on the locker when they were cut and one had been open while it was cut, a clear indication of an "inside job."

This case also demonstrates why insurance companies should check criminal histories of anyone making a claim. She had previously been arrested in 2000 for insurance fraud.

Source:, "Woman faces insurance fraud charges after claiming her storage unit was burglarized," WAFB staff, May 13, 2015

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