Insurance Fraud Cases Skyrocket In COVID Era

According to Cornell Law School, Insurance fraud “refers to any duplicitous act performed with the intent to obtain an improper payment from an insurer.” Fraud is a huge contributor to rising costs of insurance — and insurance fraud is on the rise itself, especially since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Many benefits were provided to help Americans who found themselves in COVID poverty, but millions of dollars fell out of the government’s pocket along the way.

But that’s not the only reason fraud cases are on the rise.

Kentucky resident Earl Lee Planck, Jr. (age 62) was convicted of crop insurance fraud and other related charges, and then sentenced to 56 months incarceration in December, 2021. 

The man bought crop insurance using his own name. He then claimed false losses on land with soil that wasn’t even able to grow tobacco, the crop in question. The land was wooded. Although this case was established more than a decade ago, similar cases are on the rise — because of COVID poverty, or the loss of income during the pandemic.

State prosecutors have been aggressive in prosecuting these individuals.

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Jessica D. Aber said, “In the past year, Virginians have endured the physical, mental, and economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the last year, we have stood firm in our commitment to protect the programs implemented by Congress to assist community members suffering from the economic effects of this pandemic and, going forward, will continue to aggressively prosecute those who steal taxpayers’ funds.”

Dozens were charged in Virginia during the 2021 calendar year after the combined cases resulted in attempts to defraud the U.S. government of at least $105 million.

The most common types of fraud included: Paycheck Protection Program fraud, Economic Injury Disaster Loans fraud, Unemployment Insurance fraud, Personal Protective Equipment fraud, and Economic Impact Payments fraud.