We’ve covered everything from medical fraud to Internet fraud, and this week, we’re spotlighting a growing trend of unscrupulous roofing companies that are going the extra mile to commit insurance fraud.
It all starts with a roofing company offering to handle all paperwork with the homeowner’s insurance company, and to either waive or discount the deductible for a damaged roof. Instead of submitting a bill for the replacement cost of the roof, the roofer includes the amount of the homeowner’s deductible. The roofer and the homeowner come out ahead, but the insurance company loses.
Atlanta ‘s Channel 2 Action News and consumer investigator Jim Strickland spurred the passing of a new law following an investigation that nabbed several roofers in an elaborate sting. Roofers are no longer allowed to pay storm victim’s insurance deductibles or file claims on their behalf, as Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens joined the investigation that caught Ronnie Baker and several other roofers in the act. The state rented a house and brought in certified inspector Frank Domonousky, who took a look at the house and said, “It’s in good condition. There is no hail or storm related damages,” according to WSBTV.com. Channel 2 and the Fraud Squad with the Insurance Commissioner’s office had separate hidden cameras set up.
Baker claimed the house needed a new roof, and told undercover agents not to “[tell] them I’m paying your deductible or they’ll just deduct that from us. Legally I can’t do that.” He was caught on camera manufacturing damage. Baker and several other roofers were arrested in the sting.
“Fraudsters will get creative to find any means to create a scam or a need, trying to rope the consumer in. Fraudsters roll into a town, hitting neighborhoods and ‘cramming’ innocent people for services they do not need. Watch out for the scammers trying to ‘cram’ you,” says the Fraud Dog. If you’re searching for fraud investigation services, contact Contego Services Group today. Headed by Linda Webb, Contego also offers risk management services. For more information, call 1-855-WE-SWARM today.