Hampton Woman Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud Scheme
CONCORD - Jacqueline Masse, 49, of Hampton, New Hampshire, pleaded guilty to participating in a mail fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Scott W. Murray.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in letters mailed to restaurants and food companies Masse falsely claimed that she (or another member of her family) became seriously ill after eating food served by the restaurants or packaged by the food companies. In other letters also mailed to restaurants and food companies, Masse assumed the identity of other members of her family and falsely claimed that the family member became seriously ill after eating food served by the restaurants or packaged by the food companies.
In each of the 12 letters, Masse falsely claimed that the letter’s writer had paid or borrowed money to pay hospital bills and other medical expenses incurred to treat an illness because they did not have personal health insurance. Each letter included a demand that the affected restaurant or food company reimburse the writer for medical expenses and provide financial compensation for pain and suffering.
According to the court documents and statements made in court, to support each demand letter, Masse provided fraudulent medical records allegedly obtained from hospitals in New Hampshire and Massachusetts as false evidence of the fictitious illnesses. She used fraudulent bank account and credit card statements as false evidence that the writer had dined at the affected restaurant or bought food packaged by the affected food company. Masse also used fraudulent invoices from hospitals and an ambulance company as false evidence of medical expenses.
In correspondence with the insurance carriers, Masse demanded payments totaling more than $399,000. Some of the insurance companies responded by mailing insurance settlement checks totaling more than $206,000 to Masse’s home in Hampton and homes associated with her family members (who were unwitting participants in the scheme to defraud).
Masse is scheduled to be sentenced on February 28, 2020.
“Insurance fraud has a serious impact on hard-working individuals and families, as it drives up their insurance premiums and makes it more difficult to collect on legitimate claims,” said U.S Attorney Murray. “The conduct in this case was carefully planned and persistent. It involved the attempted theft of almost $400,000, the use of bogus documents, and Masse’s use of personal identifying information that belonged to innocent members of her family. I want to commend the New Hampshire Insurance Department for its exceptional work on this case and its overall tenacious effort to investigate and prosecute insurance fraud in all of its forms.”
“I’m very proud of the hard work and dedication of my Fraud Unit,” said John Elias, the New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner. “This fraud scheme caused harm to private consumers, businesses, and insurance carriers. One of our highest priorities is to protect these entities, and we are thankful to the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI for partnering with us to combat fraud.”
"Cleanliness and accountability are the bedrock on which restaurants and food providers stake their reputations. Jacqueline Masse attempted to enrich herself by exploiting that fact and using smear tactics to persuade the victims' insurance companies to settle her bogus claims," said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. "The FBI thanks the New Hampshire Insurance Department for its exceptional investigative work, which helped expose her fraud and the truth."
The New Hampshire Insurance Department investigated this case with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Robert M. Kinsella is prosecuting the case.