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OFF BEAT: Couple charged with fraud after insurer pans sequel


Much like movie producers, perpetrators of insurance fraud may need to be wary of back-to-back sequels.

Police in Erie, Pa., last week charged a couple who claimed to have been burglarized twice in a month with multiple offenses including insurance fraud and theft by deception, the Erie Times-News reports.

In June 2013, Michael E. Whitcomb and Elizabeth A. Whitcomb filed a police report claiming that items including dressers, night stands, beds and electronics were stolen from the basement of their residence. The Whitcombs subsequently received $13,458.32 from their insurance company.

The very next month, the hapless couple claimed they were victimized yet again, with items including “couches, dressers, file cabinets, a porch swing, a dining room set, 30 pairs of shoes, 15 coats, dish sets and a foot spa” taken from the residence. The insurance company became suspicious when the Whitcombs submitted another claim for $26,270 in losses, and a subsequent police investigation found many of the allegedly stolen items in the couple’s new home.

Maybe the lesson here for aspiring insurance fraudsters is that crime doesn’t pay, especially twice within a month.