Busted

The Telltale Vacuum Cleaner

Featured imageOur subject had been at odds with her employer, and subsequently she went out on a job-related stress disability claim. Later investigation of the cash register and inventory sheets revealed a suspicious development: the company had come up short for several items of merchandise during the employee’s tenure.

DMA Investigations was called upon to locate the employee and conduct surveillance to find out what she was up to while out on her stress claim. The employer told us they suspected she might be trying to start up a cleaning service business. (more…)

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Busted on the Fairway Five

Featured imageOur subject was out on a total disability claim, from a back injury. That disability claim was paying our subject enough money to maintain a rather nice lifestyle, which included a late-model luxury car, country club membership, and a gated house in the hills. There was only one problem with this happy scenario – our subject was a fraud, lying through his teeth.

His golf swing was not going to give Tiger Woods a scare at Augusta anytime soon. But it was a beautiful morning on his country club course and you could see our subject was having a very good time. No pain, no hesitation, no problems swinging or picking up the ball. (more…)

The Perils of Car Maintenance

Featured imageNormally car maintenance is an activity that is good for morale and poses no threat to the individual providing care for his or her equipment. But a person claiming disability and attempting to collect Workers Comp benefits ought to know better than to clean a car, increase tire pressure,open and close garages and perform similar tasks. The potential of a large “gift” from Workers’ Compensation would incline the truly devious person to require such tasks to be performed by a spouse, a “significant other” or a hired hand.

Our subject claimed left arm, left leg and back injuries and was collecting benefits. She was reportedly using a cane. The assignment was for two days of surveillance. (more…)

Home Run King Strikes Out

Featured imageThe subject we were hired to investigate had numerous subjective back related complaints, supposedly the result of a fall from a loading dock. The injuries could not be verified by medical exam and he had been released back to work under modified duties (lifting restricted to 10 pounds, restricted bending and twisting).

The subject continued to report to work but was regularly leaving early complaining of pain. The subject’s general appearance (big, strong, apparently healthy) and the subjective nature of the complaints were the “red flags” that triggered bringing in an investigator. (more…)

Sweet Little Old Lady…NOT

Ladies of a certain age come in all varieties, as do 20-somethings and 30 somethings. The baby boom generation of ladies, like all generations of women and men alike, includes the good, the bad and the ethically challenged.

Featured imageMy inclination is to give little old ladies the benefit of the doubt, having had a very kindly grandmother who was good for cookies, cake and the occasional dollar bill slipped into my pocket when Mom wasn’t looking. However, if “grandmother” is the cover and distraction used to get away with a fraudulent claim that comes my way, my fondness for my grandma isn’t going to help you. If your claim is bogus, I will bust you. (more…)

Dude, Where’s My Disability Check?

It is amazing what you can do in plain sight in terms of getting film on Southern California beaches. The subjects who file for disability and then head to the ocean to engage in recreation inconsistent with their claimed injuries do not seem to react to camcorders in their vicinity. Perhaps it is the other tourists on the beach taking film to show friends back in snowbound Iowa that provides the camouflage.

In this instance, the subject, if he noticed at all, may have had dreams of being discovered by the movie industry and coming off disability to a starring role. This guy looked so good after two years of being off work, it seemed impossible that anyone had interviewed him as the payments went on and on.

The subject obviously considered himself completely safe from scrutiny after two years. Our first surveillance resulted in excellent film of more than an hour ’s worth of cleaning the home garage, complete with bending, lifting and sweeping. A good start.

Coming back on the weekend, I found him on his way to the beach with a surfboard on top of the car. The weather had been warm so fortunately I was dressed for the beach – shorts, Hawaiian shirt and flip flops. I found a good spot on the beach, set down a towel and proceeded to film the ocean while our subject got ready to surf. Once he was out on the waves, he was completely oblivious to me and the film was perfect.

He finally came out of the water and I thought I was done. Good thing I didn’t leave because he headed directly for the sand volleyball courts and within minutes, he was diving into the sand to save points, leaping above the net to spike, and generally making the activity of surfing appear to be restful.

I was well and truly sunburned by the time he packed it up. But I had some great film, and this guy’s claim was toast. Ultimately the film was turned over to the DOI for prosecution.

The appearance of vibrant good health, a great tan and physical evidence of membership in a well-equipped gym do not normally appear in lists of red flags, but perhaps an addendum would be in order.