Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Work Story -- A Little Lengthy But an Interesting Read

Several years ago, I investigated a case in which the woman claimed to have a brain tumor. The local media covered her story because they found out the dentist office where she was working was throwing a Christmas party in her honor and donating all kind of toys and goodies to this family with three children. The public was told she was being treated at MD Anderson because she was undergoing some experimental treatment. She was married to a police officer. The police are a band of brothers like no other, and during this terrible ordeal, police officers were working second shifts and donating those funds to this family. One officer took out a personal loan of over $7,000.00, and gave it to this family. The police also hosted a charbroiled chicken dinner with the proceeds going to this family.

During this time, she went to work for my dad. It was during this trial period at his office that they turned in a claim that landed on my desk. It wasn’t their first questionable claim. Their first questionable claim that had to be paid was when they had a grease fire that burned down their rental. This time the fire was contained to a little place in the garage. That’s where I come in.

I investigate insurance fraud for an insurance company. I have worked chop shops, staged accidents, passenger stuffing, thefts, arsons, chiropractors, roofers, and a number of other unsavory characters…but these were the worst. Some of my training is formal. Some of my training is on the job. Some of my skill comes from my gut.

While I still investigate fraud, I don’t investigate these individual cases any longer…sometimes I miss it. Sometimes I don’t.

But back to my story…I made arrangements to take the statements of our insureds. I went to their home and met the Mrs. and observed her with her three children. She moved easily around the kitchen. She bent down to pick up a paper towel and came up with ease. She moved around the house with perfect balance and without hesitation. When she looked at things, her eyes tracked perfectly. She heard everything that went on in that house. Her speech was not slurred nor was it delayed as if she was struggling to find the correct word. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I just knew I needed to observe her behavior. My degree is actually in speech pathology. Who knew that it would help me out in one of my cases! I began taking her statement. She was perfectly poised. She answered each question as if practiced. She didn’t exhibit any tell-tale signs that I would recognize.

When I take someone’s statement, I get all up in their personal business. You don’t EVEN want to know some of the things people have confessed to me. I asked about the fire, the things that happened before and after, and then I asked about financial issues. The Mr. arrived, and I took his statement. Normally, I wouldn’t do a statement at someone’s residence, but my gut told me to get it while I could. When I interview someone with law enforcement background, my goal is different than with someone off the street. I sat down with the officer and took his statement. He told me that nothing happened in his house that he didn’t know about. I went through the facts, and then I went through their finances.

I left their home and sat in my car for a moment, and there was something just gnawing on me. My gut is rarely if ever wrong…mainly because I think it’s a God-thing. As I pulled out of their driveway, I called my boss and told him I wanted to do something outside the box and wanted his permission. First, just the fact that I called him to tell him ahead of time…he knew it was huge! I was summoned to his office.

I told him of my plans for my investigation, and he concurred. I gathered all kinds of intell, and sure enough – let’s just say, I found out she didn’t have a brain tumor. YUP! HUGE!

Police don’t like investigating their own, and this time was no exception. I had to pay the claim, but the information contained inside my claim is what would ultimately bring them down. The National Insurance Crime Bureau agent was brought in and took the case to several different people. No one was interested in looking into it. Then he took it took it to a federal prosecutor who is fierce, and I love that about her. She checked the medical records at the police office and confirmed what I had uncovered.

During the federal trial, the police officer who said he knew everything that happened in his home started back-pedaling. He started saying he didn’t know about the scheme and that it was all his wife’s doing. Fortunately, this prosecutor remembered the statement I took and pulled it out to contradict his testimony.

While I was reading Genesis and reading how Adam started blaming Eve the moment he was caught, I thought about this Mr. and Mrs. In Genesis 3:12, “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Not only did Adam blame the woman, he had the gall to blame God! He was doing anything to deflect responsibility, causation and punishment…but it didn’t work. Following Adam’s lead, Eve says, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate it”(vs 13). Pass the buck, sista! Pass the buck!

How often have you tried escaping what you deserved by looking for someone else to blame? Sounds juvenile, doesn’t it? My children try it on a regular basis. Sometimes we try it with God. “God, she needs your help. Fix her. She’s not living like she should.” When in reality, she isn’t the issue. She may need help, but God is more interested in you. She isn’t the one who needs fixing…IT’S YOU! YOU are the one with the bad attitude. YOU are the one with the mean spirit. You are the one who needs calluses removed from your heart and who needs to be fixed.

There are consequences for our actions. For Adam and Eve, there were many consequences…consequences that would last till Jesus comes back. There are consequences you have for the choices you have made. For the Mr. and Mrs., they both served jail time and were separated from their children. The sentence given the Mrs. exceeded the guidelines set. You get to choose what you do, and as a result of your choice, you have chosen your punishment, your consequences. Are your choices Christ-like? Are your decisions made after you have sought God’s direction? It matters. It really does.

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