By Karla Sullivan
Private law attorney of Seattle, Edward Callow, pled guilty to five felonies including conspiracy, two counts of first degree theft, money laundering and obtaining signatures under duress or deception relation to the theft of his client’s insurance settlement. Callow faces five years in prison.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) helped apprehend Callow, who fled the United States in December 2013 and was returned from Taiwan in March. Callow and former Nationwide Insurance Claims Associate Fariborz (Romeo) Rahrovi were charged on Dec. 12, 2013, with first-degree theft, conspiracy to commit first-degree theft, money laundering, perjury and obtaining a signature by duress. Callow stole the bulk of a Nationwide insurance settlement paid to his client, an auto accident victim who was left permanently disabled, unable to work and without a pension; Rahrovi is accused of aiding in the theft and profiting from it. Nationwide fired Rahrovi in November 2012.
“This crime is particularly offensive because an attorney used his position of trust to prey on a victim,” said Kreidler.
Insurance fraud is becoming one of Americas biggest crimes and the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates at least 80 billion a year in insurance theft schemes. State insurance regulators have now developed bureaus in most states that you can contact if you are a victim. The FBI, U.S. Postal Service, Medicare, Medicaid and other federal agencies are heavily involved in combating insurance fraud.
· Never sign blank forms
· Make sure bills for work or medical services are accurate
· Be sure the company and the sales person are licensed by your state
· Check with your state about any complaints
· Keep your identification number secret
State fraud prosecutions have tripled over the last three years, according to a new study of state fraud bureaus by the Coalition. States have created a model fraud law that makes it harder for con artists to set up fake insurance companies. Many states also are scrutinizing insurance company finances and market practices more closely.
Any type of transaction that requires health, auto or life insurance policies should be carefully examined; all documents reviewed in detail before any commitment is made. Get a second opinion or financial adviser to answer any concerns questions before becoming a fraud victim.