Morris Resident to Serve Federal Prison Time for Involvement in Insurance Fraud Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that on December 18, DUSTIN WHITTEN, 32, of Morris, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his involvement in an insurance fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in May 2009, Ryan Geddes of Litchfield transferred to WHITTEN a residential property located in Old Forge, N.Y., while Geddes continued to use the property and pay the mortgage and maintenance expenses. At the time, Geddes was being sued by a creditor who was seeking to collect a debt and identify Geddes’ assets. In March 2011, WHITTEN and Geddes made arrangements for an insurance company to issue a policy on the New York property in WHITTEN’s name. On July 4, 2011, after a bankruptcy court meeting about compensating Geddes’ creditors, the New York property was destroyed in a fire. In September 2011, WHITTEN swore out an insurance claim on the property, representing himself as the owner and seeking compensation in the respective amounts of $515,038.50 for the destroyed structure and $92,974.47 for personal property allegedly lost in the fire. The claim was eventually denied by the insurance company.
WHITTEN and Geddes have both admitted that the purpose of the scheme was to shield the insurance proceeds from Geddes’ creditors.
On April 17, 2015, WHITTEN pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
On April 28, 2015, Geddes pleaded guilty to charges related to this scheme and separate fraud schemes. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February 2016.
This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry K. Kopel and Michael J. Gustafson.