BISMARCK, N.D. – Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread today announced the recent arrest of Weston Aho, 28, of Sawyer, ND. Aho was charged with insurance fraud, a class C felony, and is scheduled to appear in court on March 13 in Ward County.
The North Dakota Insurance Fraud Unit learned a claim was filed for medical coverage against Aho’s policy after a friend had fallen off one of Aho’s horses. After the claim was paid, it was discovered that Aho had actually assaulted the friend and that Aho lied to the company in the claim.
“Unfortunately, the common belief is that insurance fraud is a victimless crime, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Godfread said. “Insurance fraud doesn’t just affect insurance companies negatively – it affects all of us. When claims are paid out due to insurance fraud, the cost of insurance increases for everyone. When people feel they are entitled to padding their claims or making false claims – this is insurance fraud, plain and simple. The North Dakota Insurance Department takes insurance fraud very seriously and is committed to protecting North Dakota consumers.”
Insurance fraud costs consumers in the United States between $80-120 billion each year, equaling about $950 per family annually. It is the second most profitable crime in the United States behind only illegal drug sales. Examples of insurance fraud include but are not limited to:
- Deliberate attempts to stage an accident, injury, theft, arson or other type of loss that would be covered under an insurance policy (ie. setting fire to your home)
- Exaggerating a legitimate claim (ie. doubling the value of stolen jewelry)
- Knowingly omitting or providing false information on an insurance policy application (ie. purchasing a policy for a previously damaged vehicle and omitting the damage in the application to file a claim at a later date)