Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An inauspicious beginning

As they say a journey of a million miles begins with one step.

However, what motivates me to start writing results in an inauspicious beginning for my blog. I found out that one of my former students just pled guilty on Jan 22, 09 to insurance fraud

This makes me ponder what makes someone steal, what fundamentally is so little money (think Madoff ponzi scheme). I know that some will read this and say half a million dollars is a lot. But think about this. Since that money was stolen by committing insurance fraud, the money was reported to the IRS by the insurance company. Thus, after all the taxes this might have resulted in a net of $300K. It appears that the fraud was committed from 2005 - 2008. Thus, $100K/year.

I know that this is a little more money than the median family income in Simsbury, CT where the fraud took place. I say it is not that much money because of how great the downside risk was. In this case, the doctor not only has to repay the money but could end up going to jail for 10 years and could pay up to a quarter of a million dollars in fines. As a gamble the downside risk was way too high given the pay-off ($300,00).

Not that any amount of money would motivate me to steal but at least if he'd stolen many millions or billions he could have squirled away enough money in an off-shore account that when he got out of jail he'd be able to live well in a third-world country. In this case, I suspect when he gets out of jail he will have no money and no real prospects to earn money. If he has a family I suspect they are financially ruined. They might loose their home (as many honest people are right now) but at minimum they will loose, what no doubt, was a comfortable lifestyle.

This is a sad outcome for the doctor's family (who I am sure were innocent) and all who knew him. If I could have prevented the fraud, I would. However, given that the fraud actually occurred, I am actually glad that it was discovered and justice prevails.

For the chiropractic profession, fraud like this only serves to erode the profession's social and cultural authority. Thus as a chiropractor I condemn this fraud and applaud the FBI and the US Attorney's office for this successful investigation and prosecution.


1 comment:

  1. Having spent the better part of 4 years in class with the him, I am saddened by the culmination of what was either desperation, greed or just plain stupidity. Of course I do not condone these activities and only wish the infractions occurred in a non-chiropractic sideline business.