Fraud in the News

By Emily Primeaux

For sale: more than a doctor's reputation

A Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, doctor has agreed to put his $3 million mansion up for sale as part of his guilty plea to a health-care fraud charge, according to a Jan. 22 article by Thomas Zambito on

Federal prosecutors say that Benjamin Sabido, 62, pleaded guilty to his role in a three-year scheme to bill Medicare for physical therapy that was either never done or was performed by unqualified assistants, according to the article, "Franklin Lakes doc pleads guilty to fraud, must sell $3M mansion." Sabido also has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in fines and forfeitures.

"The terms of Sabido's civil settlement agreement call for him to sell his five-bedroom home at 1085 Franklin Lakes Road, complete with bridal staircase and movie theater, as soon as possible," writes Zambito.

According to the article, Sabido faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced.

You are not a winner

Eugene Maganya, of Des Moines, Iowa, has been sentenced to two years in prison for wire fraud in a "cruel" sweepstakes scam that federal prosecutors say targeted vulnerable people, reports the Jan. 22 Chicago Tribune article, Man who ran ‘cruel' sweepstakes scam gets 2 years in prison.

"Court records show the 30-year-old and others in California sent letters telling people they had won a big sweepstakes prize," says the Tribune reporter. "The letters contained a bogus check and recipients were told to deposit it while sending along a fee to process the winnings."

According to the article, more than 120 people sent nearly $350,000 to fake identities used by Maganya. One 77-year-old woman sent $1,000 cash, thinking she had won the sweepstakes.

Prosecutors said that by the time victims realized the winning checks didn't clear, they'd already sent the scammers money.

Is your bank duping you?

The U.K.'s largest banks have been accused of being "fundamentally corrupt" after they sold worthless insurance to nearly two million customers. Eleven firms, including Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC and Santander, will have to pay compensation.

According to the Jan. 27 Daily Mail article, "Banks accused of being ‘fundamentally corrupt' after they sold useless card insurance to two million customers," by James Salmon, "The victims included vulnerable customers who had contacted their bank after their credit card had been lost or stolen. They were then duped into paying for insurance to protect themselves against fraudulent transactions made on their replacement card."

According to the article, the policies were sold when people contacted their banks for help over lost or stolen credit cards. However, the insurance was useless because banks are legally obligated to refund fraudulent payments to customers.

The article states that the Financial Conduct Authority said two million customers who took out "card security" policies would start receiving letters to inform them that they could possibly receive a payout. Other big names also caught in the scheme include Tesco Personal Finance, The Co-operative Bank, Capital One and Clydesdale Bank.

Desperate measures ...

A British grandmother who tried to kill herself rather than face extradition to the U.S. was spared prison time after she and her husband admitted to fraud charges, according to the Jan. 29 article, British grandmother walks free from US court after Dunhams admit $1m fraud, by Raf Sanchez of The Telegraph. Sandra Dunham, 58, will face 18 days of home detention while her husband, Paul Dunham, 59, has pleaded guilty to more serious charges.

The Northamptonshire couple worked for Pace Worldwide, an electronics company with employees in the U.S. and U.K. They admitted to defrauding the company of $1 million, which they used to fund a lavish lifestyle of holidays in Barbados and furniture for their dog, according to the article.

"The couple fought a high-profile legal battle against their extradition to the US and both took a drug overdose in May last year after the High Court denied their final appeal," writes Sanchez. "They both survived the apparent suicide bid and in December they each pleaded guilty."

According to the article, Mrs. Dunham, who admitted one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, told the court: "This whole experience has been a nightmare for both of us."

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