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It could have been worse … way worse. Francois C. Maisonneuve could have been sentenced to five years in jail and fined up to $50,000. Instead, he was sentenced only on the charge of attempting to commit a crime, and he walked away with a suspended sentence, a few years of probation, an order to pay $50 to a victim witness fund and an order to reimburse Aetna the $10,000 spent in the course of investigation. The actual insurance fraud charge was continued, however, and Maisonneuve is going to have to stay out of trouble for two-and-a-half years lest it be reinstated.
Maybe the light sentence was because Maisonneuve only tried to commit fraud. He never got away with it, though, thanks to a sharp-eyed investigator at Aetna.
It all started when Maisonneuve’s brother, Louis, allegedly purchased a $100,000 life insurance policy and named Francois as sole beneficiary. In March of 1991 Francois filed a death claim for poor Louis, alleging he’d died of a sudden heart attack on September 9, 1990, and was then buried in Haiti. He supported the claim with two death certificates and a burial permit from the Republic of Haiti. Then, for good measure and for an extra bit of drama, he supplied a picture of his dead brother lying in a coffin.
But, oh-oh, the writing on the claim form looked to be an exact match to the writing on the original application. Aetna called in a handwriting expert and the suspicions were confirmed. Then an investigator located the very-much-alive Louis in Malden, Massachusetts. Louis, uninvolved in the scam, cooperated with authorities.
The real kicker came, however, in a side bar conversation with the judge, during which Francois Maisonneuve asked for leniency. He explained (to the judge) that a conviction might seriously jeopardize his job — as an insurance investigator!
@1995 John Cooke Fraud Report