Sunday, April 16, 2006

Quit While You're Ahead

And greed strikes again!

Imagine if you will that you are disposed to getting much money for little to no effort. Now imagine that you have come up with a lovely con to get that money.

Highly illegal? Check.
Requires occasionally ingesting something very harmful to attempt to avoid detection? Check
Leave related medical bills unpaid so that the collection agencies actively search for you? Check

Sounds like the perfect plan, n'est pas?

Well, that's what a couple in the US thought anyway. It all started out in 1997 when they went to a hospital in Boston, MA claiming to have eaten glass in a local restaurant. The restaurant settled privately with them and a scam was born. They used false Social Security numbers, identity cards, and in some cases actually ate the glass to support their claims across several states. They also left in the neighborhood of $100,000 worth of unpaid medical bills.

The article doesn't say so, but I'd bet it was the bill collectors that caught up with them. That, or an alert medical insurance adjustor. After all, I've never known a single person to have accidentally eaten glass, much less in a restaurant. Oh sure, I've bit down on a missed bit of shell in a seafood dish, but you can see how that got in there. Which brings me to my next point, how did our scheming couple expect people to believe they swallowed the glass? Going back to my shellfish, when I felt the hard bit of shell as I chewed my food, my first reaction was not to swallow, it was to discreetly dispose of the foreign object in my napkin. How did they explain this to the doctors? "oh well, you see, I believe in letting the digestive juices of the stomach do all the work for me, so I don't really chew my food. The first I realized something hard, sharp and pointy was in my food was when I swallowed and felt my throat get scratched".

I'm amazed this little scam worked one time, let alone multiple times. You'd think they might have taken a page out of the gamblers handbook and quit while they were ahead.

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