The Dumbest Insurance Fraud Attempts Ever: #1

A Former School Police Officer Staged His Own Shooting

Jeffrey Stenroos used to work as Los Angeles Unified School District police officer before starting a bizarre hoax leading to a massive manhunt for a fictitious assailant and lockdown of several schools in January 2011. Stenroos claimed to have been shot in the chest by a car burglar near El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills. This started a massive 10-hour manhunt shutting down streets in the west San Fernando Valley and deploying more than 500 officers as well as traffic management workers.

Police Officer
L.A. Unified School District police officer decided to
start a bizzare hoax

After proving that the claim was made up in a non-jury trial, a judge found the 31-year-old officer guilty of felony counts of insurance fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, preparing false documentary evidence and planting false evidence. He was sentenced to five years in county jail but the judge in the case said he would have to serve only two years as long as he paid the restitution, completed 400 hours of community service and met other terms of probation.

The school police officer was spotted by a passerby lying on the ground in pain and calling for help near his open car door. Stenroos told fellow officers that a man with a ponytail and black leather jacket shot him once in the chest and fled while he was investigating a report of a car burglar in the area.

The bogus scheme created panic and chaos in the area; over 500 officers combed the neighbourhood conducting door-to-door searches, more than 9,000 students were locked down in nine schools for up to 10 hours and an eight-square-mile area was locked down, jamming traffic and disturbing the public.

Police Car
The hunt for the imaginary attacker has caused
chaos and panic

Officer Stenroos wasn’t hurt very seriously and even helped with the manhunt after being released from a hospital. He had a bruised chest and complained of pains and injuries that did not exist. The police sensed something suspicious about Stenroos’ story from the very beginning as he wasn’t able to keep the facts straight. For example, he claimed that the suspect fired only one shot but later changed into several shots. In addition to the conflicting allegations, the nearly 8-year veteran of the school police evaded the authorities that wanted to conduct further questioning.

According to Stenroos’ attorney, he was sitting in his office when he accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun. Because he wasn’t seriously injured, Stenroos continued fulfilling his duties and went on a patrol. At one point the delayed pain was so strong that he could not continue and fell to the sidewalk.

However, prosecutors and police officials alleged that Stenroos may have shot himself intentionally and planted a shell casing at the claimed shooting scene. The fact is that Stenroos took paid time off after a fraudulent workers compensation injury claim. He was paid $57,000 in medical care by the school district.

The LSM Insurance Take:

The incidence of disability insurance fraud is much higher than life insurance fraud. Part of this is due to the fact it is much more difficult to fake a life insurance claim your either dead or your not. Disability Insurance fraud is especially high among seasonal occupations like landscaping and snow removal. The amount of disability fraud is much less among professional as they have a higher amount of income to lose.

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