Wednesday, February 24, 2010

West Seattle man pleads guilty to first-degree theft in insurance fraud case

Edward Charles Bailey, 59, of West Seattle, has pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to first degree theft for committing insurance fraud.

Bailey, who reported an on-the-job back injury to his employer in 2006, was placed on temporary total disability and received disability pay from his employer’s insurer, Alaska National Insurance. Doctors subsequently ruled him unable to return to work.

Five weeks after the injury, investigators working for the insurance company videotaped Bailey working vigorously on his sailboat at a Seattle marina. The sanding, painting, climbing and moving of machinery were all contrary to the physical restrictions imposed by Bailey’s doctors, according to the Washington insurance commissioner’s Special Investigations Unit.

When shown the video, the independent medical examination doctors who had originally seen Mr. Bailey reversed their original opinion as to his ability to work.

According to the charges, Bailey was paid more than $26,000 in unnecessary medical expenses and disability benefits that he wasn’t entitled to.

Bailey's sentencing is slated for early next month.

Meanwhile, in Virginia...

An amendment has been introduced in the Virginia state legislature to ban insurers from requiring their customers:

" have an identification/tracking device or mark implanted or permanently or semi-permanently incorporated into the body, skin, teeth, hair, or nails of such person to track, or to aid in tracking such person."

Violations would be subject to a fine of $500, payable to that state's Literary Fund.

For the record, we here in Washington are unaware of any insurer planning to implant anything in your hair, fingernails, or anywhere else. The closest thing we've seen is a proposal from some auto insurers to allow their customers to voluntarily have devices installed in their cars to monitor how they drive (jackrabbit starts, speeding, etc.), for the purpose of giving good drivers a discount.