Phony Personal Injury Claim

Marathon racing chiropractor will serve five months in jail for phony personal injury claim

A marathon-running chiropractor was sentenced to serve five months in jail for filing a phony personal injury claim. Philly.com first reported this story.  Fox Law reported on fraudulent insurance claims last month, after news broke of a forty-six person slip and fall scheme in Philadelphia.  As noted before, making a fraudulent slip and fall claim is illegal and the penalties are severe.  We warned that you will likely be discovered if you do make the terrible decision of filing a phony slip and fall claim.

A forty-seven year old chiropractor must have thought he was smarter than the system in the latest fraudulent claim scheme.  Now he is paying the price. Lawrence S. Herman was an established chiropractor who loved running marathons.  He owned and operated Herman Chiropractic in Waynesboro.  In January 2012 Herman was in a small fender-bender car accident.   He was not injured.  Despite this, he directed an employee of Herman Chiropractic to create the records of the phony personal injury claim and submit them to USAA.  USAA did not honor his phony personal injury claim right away.  When this happened Herman hired a personal injury attorney.  He demanded his insurance company pay out $60,000.  Of the $60.000.00, $18,000.00 would go towards the chiropractic treatment and $40,000.00 would go towards the “pain and suffering” he endured.

The insurance company noticed that Herman was participating in several 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon races when he was receiving received treatment. They also called the car incident a “minor, fender-bender type of accident.”  The FBI’s Harrisburg office investigated the case and pushed for answers.  Eventually, Herman cracked and plead guilty to filing the phony personal injury claim.  He admitted that even though the car accident did occur, his injuries and treatment were all made up. What did Herman do after he admitted his guilt?  He attempted to shift blame for filing the phone personal injury claim by blaming the attorneys who drafted the settlement demand, as well as the chiropractic employee who allegedly helped falsify the treatment records.

Herman’s defense attorney argued for a minor sentence for Herman’s phony personal injury claim, calling the incident “an isolated mistake in a law abiding life and a “one-shot” crime “of fortuitous opportunity.”  His attorney continued “Personal stresses, provided by work pressures and economic circumstances resulting from the divorce, weakened Mr. Herman’s judgment and contributed to precipitating the infraction.  Mr. Herman has already inflicted upon himself emotional punishment, even without sentencing.  His self-inflicted ruination includes the consequences of the painful process of accepting and confessing to responsibility.”

The courts did not side with the defense.  Herman was sentenced to five months in prison.  Following the prison sentence, Herman must serve five months of home confinement.  He was also ordered to pay a $600.00 fine and a $100.00 special assessment.  His chiropractic license is under investigation and will likely be revoked.

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