Family of fraudsters is busted for insurance scamsThree generations of a family, including the 70-year-old grandmother, have been arrested for insurance fraud and accused of garnering some 650 million won ($581,000) from 36 accidents over the course of six years.
The Seocho Police Precinct in southern Seoul said Tuesday that the grandmother, surnamed Oh, her 45-year-old daughter, identified as Geum, and 10 other family members were jailed for insurance scams dating back to 2005.
Geum was accused of being the mastermind behind most of the cons.
The first known case happened on July 22, 2005, when Geum got her younger sister to crash into a garbage truck parked near the southern gate of Boramae Park in Dongjak District, southern Seoul. Also seated in the car were Geum and her two daughters, including a three-year-old.
She convinced the insurance company that there had been seven people in the car and received 96.1 million won in compensation for treatment and repairs.
In 2011, Geum persuaded her ex-husband Choi, who she had divorced in 1998, to hand over custody of their daughter, despite the fact that she hadn’t seen the girl in the 13 years since the divorce. Using her daughter’s name, she promptly signed up for four life insurance policies.
A month later, Geum convinced her live-in boyfriend to hit the then-13-year-old girl with a car. The accident hospitalized the daughter for 58 days and produced 10 million won in insurance money.
The same morning that her daughter returned home from the hospital, she fell from the window of their third-floor condominium.
Geum told police that her daughter had been “playing with a ball early in the morning and fell out by accident.”
The doctor who examined the girl told Geum, “If she doesn’t get surgery immediately, she may have to live with a handicap for the rest of her life.” Geum ignored the diagnosis and her daughter was paralyzed from the waist down.
Geum was awarded 130 million won in insurance payments.
Geum and other family members continued to rake in insurance money by colliding with telephone posts in the middle of nowhere and bumping into parked cars early in the morning.
They also pretended that there were more people riding in the car than there really were, or sought long-term hospitalization despite a lack of injury.
Apart from the insurance money, the arrested family members survived by supplementing welfare payments by collecting recyclables.
The police investigation showed that Geum, her mother Oh, her four siblings and their spouses and children (a total of 13 people) were signed up for 117 types of health and life insurance. They also spread the policies out over 13 insurances companies to prevent any overlap. They chose plans and compensation limits that were not overly extravagant so as to stay under the radar.
Oh, who used to work as an insurance saleswoman, was put in charge of choosing insurance plans for the family to subscribe to.
The family was able to reap up to 1.5 million won per month from the insurance plans. Some 16 cars that were used in the intentional accidents were purchased with insurance money before police finally busted the fraudsters. One police official said, “We plan to question the hospitals, which may uncover more cases of insurance fraud.”
BY LEE JEONG-BONG [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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