Thomaston Man Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Patricia Ferrick, Special Agent In Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and William Offord, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation announced that DUSTIN WHITTEN, 32, pleaded guilty on Friday, April 17, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
According to the documents and statements presented in Court, in May 2009, an alleged co-conspirator of WHITTEN’s transferred to WHITTEN a residential property located in Old Forge, New York, while the co-conspirator continued to use the property and pay the mortgage and maintenance expenses. At the time, the co-conspirator was being sued by a creditor who was seeking to collect a debt and identify the co-conspirator’s assets. In March 2011, WHITTEN and the co-conspirator made arrangements for an insurance company to issue a policy on the New York property in WHITTEN’s name. On July 4, 2011, after a bankruptcy court meeting about compensating the co-conspirator’s creditors, the New York property was destroyed in a fire. In September 2011, WHITTEN swore out an insurance claim on the property, representing himself as the owner and seeking compensation of $515,038.50 for the destroyed structure and $92,974.47 for personal property allegedly lost in the fire.
The claim was eventually denied by the insurance company. WHITTEN acknowledged that the co-conspirator, and not WHITTEN, was the true owner of the property, and that a goal of the scheme was to shield the anticipated insurance payout from the co-conspirator’s creditors.
WHITTEN is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13, 2015, before Judge Arterton. He faces maximum penalties of twenty years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Other defendants in the case are scheduled to commence trials on June 4 and August 3, 2015.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry K. Kopel and Michael J. Gustafson.