For Immediate Release
December 23, 2011
Catherine L. Bernhard, Senior Assistant Attorney General
Insurance Fraud Unit Prosecutor
Consumer Protection and Anti Trust Bureau
(603) 271-2898 or (603) 271-7973 x 235
Attorney General Michael A. Delaney and Insurance Commissioner Roger A. Sevigny announced today the conviction of Can C. Duong of Rochester, NH for the crime of insurance fraud. On December 22, 2011 at Strafford County Superior Court, Mr. Duong pleaded guilty to one Class B felony insurance fraud against Inter Insurance Exchange of the Auto Club, ("AAA Insurance"). As part of the negotiated plea, Mr. Duong is required to make restitution to AAA Insurance in the amount of $766.50 and to write a letter of apology to the company for his actions.
The fraudulent claim was initiated after a windstorm on February 25, 2010. Mr. Duong telephoned his insurer, AAA Insurance, that the windstorm had severely damaged the wooden and vinyl fencing on his property. The claim was assigned to an adjuster who noted that photographs of the fencing taken at the time the policy incepted, in early 2009, depicted only vinyl fencing. It appeared that a wooden fence had once stood on the property, but that it had been replaced with a white vinyl fence at some time before the policy began. In a telephone call the adjuster asked Mr. Duong to explain the damage to the fencing. Mr. Duong told the adjuster that fourteen or fifteen panels of wooden fence as well as many panels of vinyl fence were damaged by the February 25, 2010 windstorm. The adjuster inspected the property and spoke with residents from the area. As a result of the inquiries made by the insurance adjuster, AAA Insurance paid Mr. Duong only for the damaged vinyl fencing. The claim relating to the wooden fencing was considered suspicious and was referred to the NH Insurance Department for further investigation as a suspicious claim pursuant to RSA 417:28.
The NH Insurance Department Fraud Unit conducted further investigation into the claim. The Fraud Investigator spoke directly with Mr. Duong about the statement he made to the AAA Insurance adjuster concerning damage to both wooden and vinyl fence panels. During the interview, the investigator showed Mr. Duong the photographs of the fencing at the time the policy was incepted and discussed the damage claim with him. Mr. Duong agreed that the wooden fence was replaced by the vinyl fence, but he said that after the photographs of the vinyl fence were taken, he reconstructed some of the wooden fencing to extend the fence beyond where the vinyl fence ended. The investigator spoke with Mr. Duong about the statements of witnesses who said that there was no wooden fence standing on his property at the time of the windstorm on February 25, 2010. The investigator discussed with Mr. Duong that the photographs and the statements did not support the claim that there had been wooden fencing damaged during the storm. Mr. Duong admitted that part of his claim to the insurance company was false. He apologized for his conduct. He told the investigator that he exaggerated the number of panels damaged by the windstorm because he needed money to repair the damage to his existing fence. Mr. Duong acknowledged that his conduct was wrong and apologized for having made such a mistake.
The prosecution is the result of collaboration between the Attorney General's Office and the NH Insurance Department Fraud Unit. The Fraud Unit was formed under RSA 417:23 to investigate and prosecute Insurance Fraud and other insurance-related criminal activity with the assistance of the NH Department of Justice.
New Hampshire Department of Justice | 33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301