Indianapolis Couple Charged with Mail Fraud in Connection with Five-Year Insurance Scheme
U.S. Attorney Announces More Results in Fight Against Local Culture of Corruption
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 15, 2013|
INDIANAPOLIS—Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that George Bowman, age 43, and Traci L. Bowman, age 42, both of Indianapolis, have been charged by indictment with mail fraud. The two defendants are alleged to have engaged in a five-year scheme to defraud local insurance companies by filing false claims for equipment they never purchased.
“Crimes of this type don’t just victimize the companies, they also increase insurance premiums for all law-abiding Hoosiers,” Hogsett said. “Working with our federal and local law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office remains focused on reducing waste and fraud in both the private and public sectors.”
Between January 2008 and January 2013, George Bowman allegedly devised a scheme to defraud insurance companies by falsifying purchase records and fraudulently filing insurance claims for equipment he had never purchased. It is alleged that in 2009, Traci Bowman joined him in this scheme. The charging document also indicates that over the course of the scheme, the pair recruited or induced others to assist their criminal efforts.
The alleged scheme would begin with the registration of a company. The pair would then falsify purchase records for expensive construction equipment, including a number of bulldozers and backhoes. The defendants would then purchase themselves, or cause others to purchase, insurance policies on this non-existent equipment.
Once the insurance premiums were paid, the defendants would wait a period of time before reporting the equipment as stolen. The pair, and others they had enlisted, would then file false reports with law enforcement, providing details about the apparent theft. Over the course of the scheme, these false reports were filed with the Cleveland Police Department, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Lawrence Police Department.
Once these false police reports were filed, the pair would allegedly file, or cause others to file, false oral and written statements to insurance companies regarding the apparent thefts. Over the course of the scheme, these false claims allegedly resulted in the defendants receiving $719,692 in fraudulent insurance claims. All told, the pair allegedly filed a total of $980,000 in fraudulent claims over the course of the scheme.
It is alleged that over the course of the scheme, George Bowman used a number of aliases in making these false claims, including Evan Medley, Richard Medley, Anthony Medley, James Russell, Gary Williams, and Kevin Williams. They are also alleged to have utilized a number of registered companies to disguise their fraud, including Clearview Homes, Russbow Builders, Russell Enterprises, TAB Construction, MCL Construction, and KJW Displays.
This prosecution comes as Hogsett has made it a priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to aggressively combat corruption and fraud in central and southern Indiana. The case was the result of a collaborative investigation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Lawrence Police Department, with assistance from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. DeBrota, who is prosecuting the case for the government, George Bowman faces eight counts of mail fraud, and Traci Bowman faces four counts of mail fraud. Both defendants could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. In addition, the federal government has filed forfeiture allegations that would require the defendants to forfeit any property traceable to fraudulent activity.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.