John Egan, a reader who is the Managing Editor of Bankrate Insurance, forwarded to me the story of Peter Jay Raposa of Ellenboro, North Carolina who in 2006 allegedly buried his 2005 custom Harley-Davidson on his property, then filed a claim for stolen motorcycle with his insurance company Nationwide. Claim was settled with a $25,000 payment to the lien holder, First Citizens Bank in North Carolina, and a $4,000 payment to Raposa.
Bad luck or Karma: 6 years later, the new owner of the property where he lived is having grading work done and the hired contractor discovers the buried custom motorcycle. Jay Raposa now faces one count of insurance fraud. Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the nonprofit National Insurance Crime Bureau, says cases like this are called “owner give-up”: a policyholder reports a vehicle stolen and files an insurance claim, but the owner is actually the one who “stole” the vehicle. Often, the owner just drive the vehicle to a desolate location and set it on fire, or ride into a lake, quarry or canal hoping it will never be found, or “sell” the parts to a chop shop. Burying a motorcycle is considered quite rare, but insurance companies have known cases where vehicles as large as a 8-ton cotton picker have been buried by people suffering financial setbacks and desperate for cash. Conclusion, watch out. Insurance fraud evidence can be unearthed.