A Kentucky tobacco farmer is facing serious criminal charges for collecting nearly $2.6 million through insurance fraud, and he isn’t the only one. According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Ronnie Jolly, 46, owned and/or rented farmland in Bourbon, Scott, Bath, Fleming, and Montgomery counties and a major producer of tobacco, corn, and soybeans. Starting in 2010, Jolly began “lying to insurers by turning in less crop production than he really had and filing insurance claims based on the falsified, lower yields.”
For instance, in 2012, Jolly produced 41,767 bushels of corn but reported only 11,833. He then sold the unreported corn under two other names, one of which was his minor son and received an insurance payment of $347,191 for the amount he “didn’t sell.” In 2014, he sold 59,580 pounds of tobacco under his sons’ names, but only reported 26,082 had been sold. Again, he received an insurance payment of $183,624. Jolly was also taking out insurance in other people’s names “to avoid scrutiny of his claims,” says the source and these illegal acts continued on for years up until early 2016.
After it was discovered that Jolly was committing insurance fraud, he was indicted and charged with a total of 31 charges. These include conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation and companies it insures, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and purposely keeping bank withdrawals to less than $10,000 to avoid reporting rules. Some of the more serious charges Jolly is facing carry sentences of up to 30 years. On top of that, he could lose some of his land in Bourbon County to the government as well as the contents of his bank account.
Who else was behind the insurance fraud scheme?
Apparently, a crop insurance agent by the name of Debra Muse, 63, was “helping tobacco growers steal thousands of taxpayer dollars through the government-back program that insures crops,” says the Lexington Herald Leader. Muse, along with the crop-growers she helped, “profited through the filing of fake insurance claims and the sale of unreported tobacco.” In 2014 and 2015, she helped clients of hers collect insurance payments totaling $169,251 that were made to three different policyholders. The claim amounts for each were falsely inflated based on the amount of tobacco losses they had suffered.
Aside from working as a crop insurance agent, Muse was also an employee at Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse. Her job was to enter information into a software program that tracked the purchases, sales, and shipments of tobacco. Again, she was falsely reporting sales as well as other information so that her clients could profit. Eventually, Muse was caught and she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and one count of making a false statement and report. As a part of her plea agreement, 26 counts of an indictment were dismissed. Muse currently faces up to 30 years in prison and is expected to be sentenced on July 30th.
Although many of the crop-growers were working together with Muse in an effort to collect an insurance payout they didn’t exactly qualify for, there are others who find themselves caught in the middle of a scam that didn’t want any part of it. And unfortunately, these individuals sometimes suffer.
If you ever have an insurance claim denied or rejected and your insurance company is doing nothing to resolve the issue, contact a Louisville, KY insurance claims lawyer today.
If you ever find yourself in a predicament where an insurance agent scammed you out of benefits or the company you are insured through acted in bad faith after a claim was filed, don’t hesitate to contact a Louisville, KY insurance claims attorney who can help you get the matter resolved. Too many policyholders are affected by insurance scams and having their claims handled unfairly and often lose out on money they should have received. Therefore, if you ever find yourself struggling with your insurer in KY over a legitimate car accident or health insurance claim that was filed, contact USAttorneys.com and we will help you locate a Louisville, KY insurance claim denial lawyer immediately to assist you.