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Cop who staged own shooting in Coalition Against Insurance Fraud's Hall of Shame


WASHINGTON—A Los Angeles school cop who staged his own shooting to collect workers compensation benefits has made the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud's 2011 Hall of Shame.

The former school police officer, Jeff Stenroos, received a five-year jail sentence in December for falsely claiming that a man shot him in his protective vest.

The 2011 hoax resulted in hundreds of police being diverted from their normal duties to search for the phantom shooter and thousands of students locked in their schools for hours without access to food, water or toilets.

“The annual Hall of Shame annually dishonors the year's most brazen, vicious or plain klutzy convicted insurance criminal,” according to the coalition, which announced the list Monday. “The Hall of Shame helps brand insurance fraud as a socially offensive crime by detailing true-life cases, and the damage caused by these masters of disasters.”

Others dishonored as part of the coalition's “No-Class of 2011” include:

• Two financially strapped diamond merchants who hired two men to dress as Hasidic Jews to pretend to rob their New York business. But the merchants' own security camera recorded them removing the diamonds. The scheme cost them up to four years in prison.

• A man who used too much gasoline when homeowners hired him to burn down a Long Beach, Calif., house they couldn't sell. He died of third-degree burns, and the homeowners received lengthy prison sentences.

• A Scarsdale, Ariz., man dogged by debt who burned down his home to collect the insurance. He then executed several witnesses, including children, for which he received the death penalty.

• Two people who filled a coffin with cow parts and a mannequin after purchasing life insurance on a person they invented and staging a funeral for the fake person. One is awaiting sentencing, and the other received two years in federal prison.

• A Chicago woman who collected $25,000 in life insurance after telling her employer that her husband was an FBI agent shot while on duty. She also claimed her daughter died. But a fraud investigator on the case was a former FBI agent who would have heard about another agent's shooting death.

PLUS: See our photo gallery on the 2011 Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame.