For Immediate Release - December 22, 2009

Brookline Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced in Connection with Stealing over $36,000 by Filing 21 Fake Injury Reports for Same Broken Tooth

BOSTON - Today, a Brookline man pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court in connection with submitting false dental injury reports to insurance companies in order to receive cash settlements. Tod Schaffer, age 42, pled guilty to the charges of Insurance Fraud (19 counts), Larceny over $250 (10 counts) and Attempted Larceny Over $250 (11 counts). Immediately after the change of plea was entered, Superior Court Judge John C. Cratsley sentenced Schaffer to serve one year in the House of Correction, with the sentence suspended for a probationary period of three years on the charge of Larceny over $250. On the charge of Attempted Larceny, Schaffer was ordered to serve three years of probation and perform 100 hours of community service. Judge Cratsley also ordered that Schaffer pay over $36,399.43 in restitution. Schaffer must also stay away from the restaurants he defrauded.

In May 2007, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after the matter had been referred by the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB). In October 2002, Schaffer legitimately injured a tooth by biting into a piece of plastic in his salad at a local restaurant. Schaffer received treatment for the injury from his dentist, and received an estimate for the cost of treating the injury. Schaffer then submitted the dental estimate to the restaurant where the injury occurred, and ultimately received full payment for his injury a week later.

The IFB was initially notified by an investigator for the Great American Insurance Company (Great American), who discovered that several restaurant claims for the same broken tooth all contained identical personal information belonging to Schaffer. Investigators discovered that on various dates between November 2002 and May 2006, Schaffer submitted 19 false injury claims to insurance companies, and two additional claims to a self-insured entity. Authorities believe that these false claims contained the same information from Schaffer's legitimate tooth injury claim from October 2002. Investigators discovered that Schaffer altered the manner in which the injury occurred on these false claims by reporting that he injured his tooth by biting into a rock, a stone, or plastic, while eating at numerous Boston area restaurants. Of the false claims submitted by Schaffer, 10 of them were paid out, resulting in over $36,000 in false payments to Schaffer. Investigators also discovered that Schaffer withdrew his claims at nine restaurants, and that an additional two restaurants denied his claim.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Schaffer on January 22, 2009. He was arraigned March 3, 2009, in Suffolk Superior Court before Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson, where he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Today, he entered a change of plea to guilty and was sentenced.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Cotter of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division and was investigated by the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau.