Javier Panzar in an article for the LA Times states that actor and comedian, Tracy Morgan, has thankfully been released from care after a deadly New Jersey Turnpike crash and will continue with his recovery from his home, according to one of Morgan’s representatives.
Just before his release from a rehabilitation center, Morgan in conjunction with comedian Ardie Fuqua, Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, and Millea’s wife, Krista Millea (who was 8 months pregnant at the time), filed a lawsuit again Walmart Stores Inc. over the deadly crash that left several injured and fellow comedian, James McNair (aka Jimmy Mack), 63, dead.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday, July 10th, 2014 in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, which claims that Walmart was negligent in allowing the driver, 35-year-old Georgia resident, Kevin Roper, to operate the tractor trailer that struck Morgan’s limo after being awake for over 24 consecutive hours.
According to the LA Times, “A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board released last month said that Roper was going 20 miles above the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike the night of June 7 when the truck struck the rear of a 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter limo van.”
Roper has entered a not guilty plea after being charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.
Walmart has apologized for the “terrible tragedy” in a statement made last month, and is fully cooperating in the investigation.
Sophia Pearson of Insurance Journal reports that two members of the NFL alumni, former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Christian Ballard and New Orleans Saints linebacker Gregory Westbrooks have filed a lawsuit to represent all former NFL players. Their accusations? The National Football League Players Association and the league itself have committed fraud, negligence, and civil conspiracy in order to hide the risks of head injuries/concussions.
The formal complaint states, “Despite their knowledge and acceptance of the link between concussive and sub-concussive hits and cognitive declines, defendants continued to actively and purposefully conceal and misrepresent the severe neurological risks of repetitive TBI (traumatic brain injury).” The NFL itself is not listed as a defendant on the formal complaint.
Sadly, there is an abundance of evidence to back up these claims. According to Insurance Journal, “more than 5,000 ex-players have made accusations against the league over head injuries in dozens of lawsuits consolidated in federal court in Philadelphia.” Also, for over 20 years, millions of dollars in disability payments distributed from a retirement board have been awarded to ex-players that suffer from repetitive traumatic brain injury. Long story short, the union has been well aware of the risks.
On July 7th, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. District Judge Anita Brody allowed preliminary approval of a $675 million settlement for claims that officials did not warn players of the dangers and associations between concussions and brain injuries.
Jennifer Massimo-Ruiz, 32, of Belmar, NJ has received a four-year state prison sentence after pleading guilty to third-degree insurance fraud. According to John J. Hoffman, acting Attorney General, Massimo-Ruiz defrauded the state after submitting a false claim to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development for more than $8,800 of state temporary disability insurance.
On September 9th, 2013, Massimo-Ruiz entered her guilty plea and proceeded to admit she had submitted a false claim to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development containing fraudulent information on or around April 19th, 2010. According to WorkersCompensation.com, “New Jersey’s temporary disability law requires that a person be employed in the past year in order to be eligible for temporary disability benefits.”
The case was referred to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and an investigation followed. Massimo-Ruiz claimed she worked as an office manager at a family-owned company from the years of 2008 to 2010. In March of 2010, she was “eligible” for temporary disability benefits as she “went out” on maternity leave. However, the investigation determined that Massimo-Ruiz had not worked the year prior to applying for benefits.
As if committing insurance fraud wasn’t enough, one year of her sentence had been tacked on after Massimo-Ruiz falsely claimed she had cancer in multiple letters sent to Superior Court Judge, Robert J. Mega, in an attempt to “avoid or influence the pending sentencing,” according to the article by WorkersCompensation.com. She also admitted to forging two doctors’ signatures on the above mentioned letters. An additional year was added onto her sentence, bringing the grand total to four years in state prison.
Tim Sprinkle of Propertycasualty360.com highlights how obtaining surveillance video of blatant fraudulent offenders in the act of committing their crimes has turned out to be a “funny, viral, and downright educational look into the real world of insurance crimes.”
Video 1: Claimant alleges he was struck by a Mercury insured vehicle while he was riding by on his bicycle. The claimant called police, went to the hospital, and took the insured to court. But a security camera in the parking lot tells a much different story:
If you are not able to view this video, it shows the claimant striking the back of the insured vehicle with his HAND to create the sound of an impact and immediately jumping off his bike, landing on the ground.
Video 2: Legitimate accidents happen all the time, but Mercury insurance highlights this next incident in which the insured claimed that a repair van rear-ended them, injuring the two passengers in the vehicle. There was a big problem, however. The driver of the repair van was ADAMANT in denying that he rear-ended the insured. Security footage was drawn thereafter:
If you are not able to view this video, it shows the insured pulling up to a light, stopping, throwing the vehicle in reverse, and slamming backwards into the repair van.
Sprinkle says it best with, “You can’t cure stupid. But you can videotape it.”
We have all seen the outrageously flashy Kia Soul commercials featuring life-size hamsters dancing to Lady Gaga hits. But what you haven’t seen is that one of these energetic hamsters is about to become the face of disability fraud.
According to the Associated Press, Leroy Barnes, 27, of Los Angeles, California has been charged with disability fraud in the state of California after collecting $51,000 in workers compensation benefits in the years of 2010 and 2011 after submitting a disability claim for a piece of ceiling falling on him.
The California Department of Insurance begs to differ, as they identified that Barnes starred in at least one Kia commercial, performed in a rap group, and performed as a backup dancer with Madonna, Kelly Rowland and Chris Brown.
Barnes has been arrested and has posted bail.
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