Publications

Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame — 2022

Posted by Kendra Smith
Mask up fast and hide while you can; a new set of viral spreaders have arrived. Let’s un-welcome the newest members of the Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame.

2022’s most-notorious insurance criminals were dishonored with induction into the Coalition’s Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame. Watch video here. The No-Class of 2022 was elected by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

This year’s 10 convicted sultans of scandal committed a wide array of fraud crimes — from doing useless surgery on bogus slip-and-fall patients to hunting wives for life insurance on a safari to breaking patients’ teeth (ouch).

The Hall of Shame shines the national public spotlight onto a persistent and damaging crime spree that steals $308.6 billion every year, the Coalition estimates. Fraud drives up premiums for millions of honest, hard-working Americans. People also are maimed, killed and driven to despair when they’re victimized by fraudsters they trusted. 

Publicly spotlighting and recounting the Shamers’ cases helps build public opinion against insurance fraud. The Coalition’s extreme schemers also help deter this crime. They’re all convicted. Thus, the Shamers spread a potent consumer message that fraud investigators and prosecutors relentlessly pursue justice. The reward for greed: hard time in a cold jail cell.

So, remember the Shamers and enjoy reading about their crimes, sort of.


Dentist kills wife on a Safari

A rich, unscrupulous Pennsylvania dentist planned to murder his wife during a safari trip in Africa all along without her having a clue, such a nice husband indeed. What do you think the reason was? Take a wild guess, if you thought money, then yes you are correct, silly since he really did not need it, a $5M insurance payout, but the “loving” husband’s premeditated cover plan was that they were hunting a leopard in Kafue National Park in 2016 so his wife could attain her goal of shooting a leopard, husband of the year… NOT! Here is the twist, there was more than just greed involved, there was adultery thrown into the mix. Let’s share their names with you, the murdering dentist’s name is Larry Rudolph the wife that he assassinated was named Bianca Rudolph, and this occurred in a remote cabin in Zambia. It’s said that a while after the killing of his wife, he looked lovingly into his mistress’s eyes and said … “I killed my f***ing wife for you” at a steakhouse dinner in Phoenix, Arizona after he learned that the FBI was investigating his late wife’s death back in 2020. Thankfully there was someone paying attention to his conversation instead of their own and overheard the comment at the next table all while in public. Yep, smart fella huh?!

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Blinded by greed

$1 million and 30 years of disability fraud was committed by John Paul Cook, who suffered a hurt eye while on duty in 1986. The Asheville, N.C. man claimed his condition worsened over the next 30 years. He was discharged and lying his “severe visual deficit” made him unemployable. The VA eventually declared Cook legally blind. During the time he was considered blind and 100% disabled, but how the heck did he renew his driver’s license several times over the years, legally owned and also registered 30 vehicles, had many overnight excursions and taught archery and was also a BB gun instructor for the Boy Scouts of America. He was also certified to read maps and also used a compass and by the way, the compass was not in braille! Continuously received disability benefits for 30 years, as he was siphoning out $3,990 a month from 1987 – 2017 and also received home remodeling assistance.

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Arsonist burns out

Wandale J. Fulton’s blizzard of home arsons, fake property thefts and bogus auto thefts finally crashed and burned in Kansas City, Mo. Fulton stole at least $322,000 overall. Fulton and his wife bought a $617,000 mansion. Someone kicked in the door and stole $85,000 of possessions. They included two air conditioning units, three furnaces, a $6,500 lawn mower and 10 leather jackets, he told his insurer. Yet Fulton billed American Family up to $300,000, then dropped the claim when challenged. 

He next bought a fix-up home for $500 and insured it for $177,600. The place mysteriously burned down a year later. Fulton claimed he spent thousands renovating the home. Yet his supposed contractors didn’t exist — his forged invoices listed fake contractors who were his buddies. More houses then burned down for insurance money. Fulton also created a phony car dealership. He stole people’s IDs and used their good credit to buy cars at auto auctions. Fulton sold the cars to his pals, who falsely told insurers that someone stole their vehicles. An innocent teacher invested his retirement savings in Fulton’s bogus car dealership. Fulton then stole his ID to buy auction cars. Fulton pled federally guilty and awaits sentencing. Stealing identities created a false life to only face a reality of prison. 

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Holy firestarter scam

Frosting on a dessert bar outed the torching of a struggling Christian outreach center for $500K of insurance in Detroit Lakes, Minn. A sweet capture indeed. The Refuge was about to fold when its owners allegedly hired Gary John Bogatz Jr. to burn down the place. Bogatz and another man planned a break-in into the Refuge building and ignited a fire using lawn mower gasoline after allegedly being asked to do so by a Refuge board member and another individual in connection to the building, geez, what kind of people are part of this board? He claimed people connected to the center told him it would close soon unless “something happened” wink-wink, and the building had “a lot of insurance,” Bogatz said he was instructed to make it look like a burglary and to burn the place down. The fire generated a $500,000 insurance claim.

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Crash claim turns deadly

A former high school boys basketball coach killed himself two days before his sentencing for a false crash-damage claim while working as a personal-injury attorney. Matthew McCollister was found dead in his home in Twin Cities, Minn. He left behind his wife and three young children. McCollister was an acclaimed coach of the South St. Paul hoops team, in addition to his law practice. A chiro introduced McCollister to a confidential informant who was working with the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau. The informant posed as a recruiter of supposed crash victims for bogus chiro treatment billed to auto insurers. McCollister met with the runner at the Red Cow restaurant, and asked him to find people who supposedly were injured.

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Toothless tooth con

A dentist broke patients’ teeth to falsely bill insurers $4.2 million for new crowns in the Milwaukee area. Scott Charmoli of Grafton, Wisc. convinced patients they needed crowns, then deliberately ruined their teeth with his dental drill (ugh, just thinking about that sound makes people cringe) and captured photos of the damaged teeth (his own twisted masterpiece) and captured X-rays of the damage. The greedy scheme played out by Charmoli first showing the patients an X-ray of a healthy tooth, but then pointing to a line or a spot he said showed a “fracture” or “decay.” He then pressed the patients into agreeing to get crown work done. Of course, the images of the teeth that were purposely damaged by him were then sent to insurers as he hungrily sought payment for every expensive crown performed. So why would he be doubted? Insurers then believed the images were legit and showed pre-operation damage. So, the insurer paid the submitted claims, and many of his patients also paid large co-pays, adding to his pockets.

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Urine becomes yellow gold

Two men bought small, struggling hospitals then used them as pipelines for billing insurers fully $1.4 billion of false urine tests. Even outside the city limits, healthcare fraud attracts the worst of the worst. Rural hospitals are ideal targets for the not so good intentional takeovers in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi by Jorge and Ricardo Perez. The hospitals they set their greedy sights on could charge insurers higher rates under agreements to “better serve” rural communities and it is a dang shame that they took that as an opportunity to execute their fraudulent behavior. Over all the Perez’s converted the rural hospitals into testing labs in order to bill insurers for phantom or inflated urine tests. The scheme made the hospitals appear to be legit facilities for the testing of urine of addicted patients. The sad reality is that other labs actually did the testing. Much of the lab testing billed through the rural hospitals involved unnecessary urine drug testing for vulnerable addiction treatment patients.

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Slip & fall ring tumbles

A surgeon did worthless and unneeded back surgeries on homeless and addicted people so a slip-and-fall ring could exploit them to maximize $31 million of insurance payouts. Dr. Sady Ribeiro pled federally guilty. The ring recruited more than 400 patients in the New York City area. The patients were coached to lie that they tripped, fell and were hurt at pre-set locations. Sometimes they deliberately fell at sites such as cellar doors, cracks in concrete sidewalks, and purported “potholes.” The supposedly injured patients were referred to colluding personal-injury attorneys, who falsely sued the site owners and their insurers. The patients were also told to receive ongoing chiro and other treatment from certain chiropractors and docs, including Ribeiro. To continue with their lawsuits, the patients had to undergo two back surges. 

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Fraud of the living dead?

Some $17 million was falsely billed for medical equipment ordered by hundreds of who turned out to be dead. A Raleigh, N.C. woman named Tanya Parrish Grant, who included a whopping 422 dead people in her bills. She reached out clear across the globe and paid firms in India and Pakistan to give her lists of Medicare patient names and personal identifiers. The lists came from overseas call centers that contacted Medicare patients to ask if they needed the equipment. Grant’s firms — Carolina Rehab Produces and Atlantic Brace — then turned around and billed Medicare.

Read More ↗


Yanking contractor’s welcome mat

Thousands of homeowners lost everything when the Tubbs wildfire barreled through Sonoma County, Calif. in 2017. Then along came contractor Salvador Chiaromonte. He took more than $1 million of victims’ money and left them with unrepaired homes. The fire wrecked 4,600 homes. Victims signed about 40 construction contracts with Chiaramonte. He took money for work that was shoddily performed or not done at all. Chiaramonte missed deadlines, and broke promises on construction start dates. Victims saw their rebuilds drag on with no progress. One victim was D.M. Kelley, who lost his house. He met with Chiaramonte who repeatedly mentioned his Christian values. 

Read More ↗


The Shamers

Bianca Rudolph

A rich, unscrupulous Pennsylvania dentist planned to murder his wife during a safari trip in Africa all along without her having a clue, such a nice husband indeed. What do you think the reason was? Take a wild guess, if you thought money, then yes you are correct, silly since he really did not need it, a $5M insurance payout, but the “loving” husband’s premeditated cover plan was that they were hunting a leopard in Kafue National Park in 2016 so his wife could attain her goal of shooting a leopard, husband of the year… NOT! Here is the twist, there was more than just greed involved, there was adultery thrown into the mix. Let’s share their names with you, the murdering dentist’s name is Larry Rudolph the wife that he assassinated was named Bianca Rudolph, and this occurred in a remote cabin in Zambia. It’s said that a while after the killing of his wife, he looked lovingly into his mistress’s eyes and said … “I killed my f***ing wife for you” at a steakhouse dinner in Phoenix, Arizona after he learned that the FBI was investigating his late wife’s death back in 2020. Thankfully there was someone paying attention to his conversation instead of their own and overheard the comment at the next table all while in public. Yep, smart fella huh?!

The 67-year-old dentist was charged with murder and also mail fraud, life behind bars or worse the death penalty that was on the table. His sidekick mistress was charged with lying to the grand jury and of course being an accessory to the murder after the fact. It was not surprising that Mr. Rudolph denied being responsible for his wife’s death back which occurred in 2016 and told the Zambian police that his wife “accidentally” shot herself as she packed away a shotgun while he was conveniently in another room as both were getting ready to return back home. His lawyer was said to have exclaimed … “They’ve chosen speculation over science. They’ve chosen fiction over fact,” during his opening statement. The Safari murder trial took place in Colorado since that is where the insurance payments were made. Rudolph was found guilty in August 2022 and faces life in prison or the death penalty when he is sentenced in February. There is no laughing gas where he’s headed.

*****

John Paul Cook

$1 million and 30 years of disability fraud was committed by John Paul Cook, who suffered a hurt eye while on duty in 1986. The Asheville, N.C. man claimed his condition worsened over the next 30 years. He was discharged and lying his “severe visual deficit” made him unemployable. The VA eventually declared Cook legally blind. During the time he was considered blind and 100% disabled, but how the heck did he renew his driver’s license several times over the years, legally owned and also registered 30 vehicles, had many overnight excursions and taught archery and was also a BB gun instructor for the Boy Scouts of America. He was also certified to read maps and also used a compass and by the way, the compass was not in braille! Continuously received disability benefits for 30 years, as he was siphoning out $3,990 a month from 1987 – 2017 and also received home remodeling assistance.

Thank goodness an anonymous tip was given and that is what brought his house of deception down back in 2017 and the Veterans Affairs investigator was on the case catching onto his long running fraudulent scheme! So, Mr. Longtime schemer aka Mr. Cook then pled guilty on July 19 to defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and received 10 months in federal prison and ordered to repay all of disability money which could have gone to an actual veteran that truly deserved the assistance over these past 30 years. An eye for eye they always say.

*****

Wandale J. Fulton

Wandale J. Fulton’s blizzard of home arsons, fake property thefts and bogus auto thefts finally crashed and burned in Kansas City, Mo. Fulton stole at least $322,000 overall. Fulton and his wife bought a $617,000 mansion. Someone kicked in the door and stole $85,000 of possessions. They included two air conditioning units, three furnaces, a $6,500 lawn mower and 10 leather jackets, he told his insurer. Yet Fulton billed American Family up to $300,000, then dropped the claim when challenged. 

He next bought a fix-up home for $500 and insured it for $177,600. The place mysteriously burned down a year later. Fulton claimed he spent thousands renovating the home. Yet his supposed contractors didn’t exist — his forged invoices listed fake contractors who were his buddies. More houses then burned down for insurance money. Fulton also created a phony car dealership. He stole people’s IDs and used their good credit to buy cars at auto auctions. Fulton sold the cars to his pals, who falsely told insurers that someone stole their vehicles. An innocent teacher invested his retirement savings in Fulton’s bogus car dealership. Fulton then stole his ID to buy auction cars. Fulton pled federally guilty and awaits sentencing. Stealing identities created a false life to only face a reality of prison.

*****

Gary John Bogatz Jr.

Frosting on a dessert bar outed the torching of a struggling Christian outreach center for $500K of insurance in Detroit Lakes, Minn. A sweet capture indeed. The Refuge was about to fold when its owners allegedly hired Gary John Bogatz Jr. to burn down the place. Bogatz and another man planned a break-in into the Refuge building and ignited a fire using lawn mower gasoline after allegedly being asked to do so by a Refuge board member and another individual in connection to the building, geez, what kind of people are part of this board? He claimed people connected to the center told him it would close soon unless “something happened” wink-wink, and the building had “a lot of insurance,” Bogatz said he was instructed to make it look like a burglary and to burn the place down. The fire generated a $500,000 insurance claim.

This must have been the smartest move on the part of Bogatz … investigators were led to Bogatz because he ate a frosted dessert bar from the fridge at the Refuge before setting the fire, he had frosting on his fingers (maybe the frosting was not tasty enough to lick off his fingers), then opened a back door, leaving a beautifully preserved frosted fingerprint on the door handle. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension analyzed the fingerprint recovered from the rear door-handle and matched the fingerprint to Bogatz. He received five years and eight months in prison. This gives “guilty” pleasures a whole new meaning.

*****

Matthew McCollister

A former high school boys basketball coach killed himself two days before his sentencing for a false crash-damage claim while working as a personal-injury attorney. Matthew McCollister was found dead in his home in Twin Cities, Minn. He left behind his wife and three young children. McCollister was an acclaimed coach of the South St. Paul hoops team, in addition to his law practice. A chiro introduced McCollister to a confidential informant who was working with the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau. The informant posed as a recruiter of supposed crash victims for bogus chiro treatment billed to auto insurers. McCollister met with the runner at the Red Cow restaurant, and asked him to find people who supposedly were injured.

McCollister wanted the victims to get treated, with him representing the patients to bring the bogus injury claims against auto insurers. He offered to pay the pretend runner $300 or more for each person recruited. McCollister then unknowingly directed one of two undercover patients to be “treated” by chiro Huy Nguyen. McCollister’s fate was sealed when the undercover runner had lunch with McCollister, Nguyen and an MRI specialist named Quincy Chettupally in Minneapolis. The lunch was secretly video recorded, with the conspirators openly discussing the scheme. This ring and others were broken up by Operation Back Cracker — an ongoing effort by the Commerce Fraud Bureau, FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office. McCollister stood to spend up to 16 months in federal prison. We guess that is one lunch meeting that did not sit too well.

*****

Scott Charmoli

A dentist broke patients’ teeth to falsely bill insurers $4.2 million for new crowns in the Milwaukee area. Scott Charmoli of Grafton, Wisc. convinced patients they needed crowns, then deliberately ruined their teeth with his dental drill (ugh, just thinking about that sound makes people cringe) and captured photos of the damaged teeth (his own twisted masterpiece) and captured X-rays of the damage. The greedy scheme played out by Charmoli first showing the patients an X-ray of a healthy tooth, but then pointing to a line or a spot he said showed a “fracture” or “decay.” He then pressed the patients into agreeing to get crown work done. Of course, the images of the teeth that were purposely damaged by him were then sent to insurers as he hungrily sought payment for every expensive crown performed. So why would he be doubted? Insurers then believed the images were legit and showed pre-operation damage. So, the insurer paid the submitted claims, and many of his patients also paid large co-pays, adding to his pockets.

It was said that some of his patients were vulnerable individuals that were either involved in abusive relationships, recently widowed, survivors of cancer, all of this meant that many were scrounging paycheck to paycheck to afford the ridiculously hyped-up copays that fell upon them. In one instance the scheming dentist persuaded one patient named Todd Tedeschi to get two crowns in one sitting (who does that?!), even though his teeth seemed fine. In total the unscrupulous dentist Charmoli performed over 700 procedures a year from 2016 to 2019 approximately 2,100 crowns — he was at around the 95th percentile among dentists in the whole state. Charmoli was handed 4½ years in prison. Let’s see him chew on that!

*****

Jorge and Ricardo Perez

Two men bought small, struggling hospitals then used them as pipelines for billing insurers fully $1.4 billion of false urine tests. Even outside the city limits, healthcare fraud attracts the worst of the worst. Rural hospitals are ideal targets for the not so good intentional takeovers in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi by Jorge and Ricardo Perez. The hospitals they set their greedy sights on could charge insurers higher rates under agreements to “better serve” rural communities and it is a dang shame that they took that as an opportunity to execute their fraudulent behavior. Over all the Perez’s converted the rural hospitals into testing labs in order to bill insurers for phantom or inflated urine tests. The scheme made the hospitals appear to be legit facilities for the testing of urine of addicted patients. The sad reality is that other labs actually did the testing. Much of the lab testing billed through the rural hospitals involved unnecessary urine drug testing for vulnerable addiction treatment patients.

Much too often the patients were recruited through kickbacks paid to recruiters and med providers — frequently at sober homes or substance abuse treatment facilities. After private insurers began to question the bills, the Perez’s moved on to another rural hospital to begin their sleazy profit scheme over and over. They always left the one they took over in the same or even worse financial state as before. The results of these two sleazeballs is that three out of four rural hospitals they drained closed shortly after. The Perez’s were convicted and will be federally sentenced later. Well, it looks like the state will better serve the Perez’s for quite some time soon.

*****

Dr. Sady Ribeiro

A surgeon did worthless and unneeded back surgeries on homeless and addicted people so a slip-and-fall ring could exploit them to maximize $31 million of insurance payouts. Dr. Sady Ribeiro pled federally guilty. The ring recruited more than 400 patients in the New York City area. The patients were coached to lie that they tripped, fell and were hurt at pre-set locations. Sometimes they deliberately fell at sites such as cellar doors, cracks in concrete sidewalks, and purported “potholes.” The supposedly injured patients were referred to colluding personal-injury attorneys, who falsely sued the site owners and their insurers. The patients were also told to receive ongoing chiro and other treatment from certain chiropractors and docs, including Ribeiro. To continue with their lawsuits, the patients had to undergo two back surges. 

They were paid token sums $1,000- $1,500 after they completed surgery. The patients were desperate — addicted or recruited from homeless shelters. Many had to ask for food when they met with the lawyers. Often, they didn’t have clothing to stay warm during the winter, and had poor-quality shoes. Litigation-funding companies financed the fraudulent lawsuits. “I will play a very honest ‘game’ with you. … I see the patient and I generate a very good dictation that justifies the treatment-there is a cost for that and I hope a profit,” Ribeiro emailed litigation-funding attorney Adrian Alexander. Ribeiro will serve up to five years and must forfeit $513K. Alexander earlier pled guilty and could receive five years when sentenced. This is one time you didn’t have to do what the doctor told you.

*****

Tanya Parrish Grant

Some $17 million was falsely billed for medical equipment ordered by hundreds of who turned out to be dead. A Raleigh, N.C. woman named Tanya Parrish Grant, who included a whopping 422 dead people in her bills. She reached out clear across the globe and paid firms in India and Pakistan to give her lists of Medicare patient names and personal identifiers. The lists came from overseas call centers that contacted Medicare patients to ask if they needed the equipment. Grant’s firms — Carolina Rehab Produces and Atlantic Brace — then turned around and billed Medicare.

She charged Medicare without actually having physician orders, and without shipping any of the products. Patients who received equipment and sent them back never triggered her to reimburse Medicare for the stuff solidifying her greed. Of course, when it came to being audited by Medicare contractors, Grant forged physician orders if no orders existed in her files. She used the money to buy a home near Raleigh; a townhome in Ft. Lauderdale; a Porsche; and several Land Rovers. She also amassed more than $1M in cash and investments. She pled guilty and will spend up to 10 years in prison when sentenced. This is one jam her forgeries couldn’t get her out of.

*****

Salvador Chiaromonte

Thousands of homeowners lost everything when the Tubbs wildfire barreled through Sonoma County, Calif. in 2017. Then along came contractor Salvador Chiaromonte. He took more than $1 million of victims’ money and left them with unrepaired homes. The fire wrecked 4,600 homes. Victims signed about 40 construction contracts with Chiaramonte. He took money for work that was shoddily performed or not done at all. Chiaramonte missed deadlines, and broke promises on construction start dates. Victims saw their rebuilds drag on with no progress. One victim was D.M. Kelley, who lost his house. He met with Chiaramonte who repeatedly mentioned his Christian values. 

Chiaramonte took over $100,000 from Kelley and did almost no work. Kelley demanded his money back. Chiaramonte said he needed the money to save his own home. “I said, ‘What about us? We have no houses!” Kelley retorted. Chiaramonte pled no contest and faces a six-year jail term, including 18 months of probation. Meanwhile, some of Chiaramonte’s victims still haven’t rebuilt their homes with their insurance money stolen. “A lot of them are still very emotionally raw,” says attorney Rich Freeman, who represents 14 homeowners in a lawsuit. “The horror of what they went through, losing everything in the fires, the emotional trauma of that, coupled with battling with their insurance companies to find out what their coverage was, only to have this guy run off with or squander their money and leave them scrambling — there’s almost nothing that could make them whole again.” This contractor’s scheme finally got burned itself.

*****