For Immediate Release - May 02, 2013

Two Men Plead Guilty, Sentenced for Fraudulently Collecting Insurance Payments

Defendants Fraudulently Collected More Than $23,000 Insurance Payment

DEDHAM – Two men have pleaded guilty to charges they fraudulently collected an insurance payment of more than $23,000, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. The case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts (IFB) following its investigation.

“These defendants conspired to obtain payment for a closed insurance claim,” AG Coakley said. “This kind of insurance fraud drives higher premiums and unnecessarily burdens law abiding consumers.”

“This case is the result of another successful cooperative investigation between the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts and the Attorney General’s office,” said Daniel Johnston, Executive Director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau. “Insurance fraud inflates rates for everyone in the system, and rooting out these fraud schemes protects the honest consumer.”

Jeffery Bannon, 38, of Clinton, Mich., formerly of Swansea, Mass., pleaded guilty in Norfolk Superior Court to charges of Making a Fraudulent Insurance Claim, Larceny over $250, and Conspiracy to Commit Larceny over $250. Steven Cournoyer, 38, of North Providence, RI, pleaded guilty to Larceny over $250 and Conspiracy to Commit Larceny. After the pleas were entered Judge Elizabeth Faheysentenced Bannon and Cournoyer to two years probation and ordered them to pay full restitution in the amount of $23,500 ($11,750 each) to the insurance company.

Bannon is a former employee of Public Service Mutual Insurance Company. Bannon and Cournoyer conspired in a scheme to defraud the insurance company out of a closed unpaid claim. The claim was related to a slip and fall that occurred in March 2007 at a Wellesley restaurant insured through Public Service Mutual.

In February 2008, Bannon, acting in his capacity as regional claims manager, reopened the property liability claim to authorize a payment of $23,500 to Cournoyer. As part of the scheme, Cournoyer deposited the insurance proceeds into his bank account and wrote a series of checks to Bannon totaling $6,240. 

A Norfolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Bannon and Cournoyer on June 27. The defendants were arraigned on September 6, 2012 in Norfolk Superior Court, where they pleaded not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Bannon and Cournoyer pleaded guilty and were sentenced on April 26.

AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division works to protect consumers and the integrity of the insurance system by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud against all types of insurers, including the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation system. The prosecution of insurance fraud helps prevent the increase in premiums and taxes that are the result of fraudulent insurance claims. In 2012, the IUFD obtained more than $1,647,000 in restitution orders in 32 matters.

Assistant Attorney General Gina Masotta of AG Coakley’s Criminal Bureau prosecuted this case with assistance from investigator Tracy Wetterlow of the Attorney General’s Office and the IFB.

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