insurance scam centered on fracturing the bones of the homeless

  1. They called him the "bonecrusher" because he was the one to swing the ax handle; the one who placed the arms and legs of the homeless people on the stone block and smashed them so badly they could pass as car accident victims.

    That was the scam: crush the bones of homeless people so desperate for a buck that they'd allow their own bodies to be maimed for money.

    For years, the scam worked, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    But police believe they now have the perpetrators of what they call a cruel, brutal crime.

    Six people have been charged with insurance fraud in a scheme in which homeless people were lured into having their arms and legs broken with promises of insurance settlement cash.

    Charged with inflicting the injuries are Michael Garner, 39, of the 700 block of South Francisco; Kendrick Moore, 53, of the 3200 block of West Division, and Marlon Cole, 32, of the 1100 block of South Richmond. Garner was known as the "bonecrusher," said police spokesman Pat Camden.

    Also charged are Anthony Parker, 51, of the 14000 block of Peoria, Harvey; Jamila Sutton, 28, of the 4200 block of West Jackson; and Darien Robinson, 28, of the 6700 block of Cedar Lane, Westmont. Police say those three were drivers in the scam.

    Investigators say members of the crew would scour homeless shelters for people so desperate for money they'd do almost anything. "They would find these guys who were down on their luck," said Area 4 Det. Ken Bigg.

    The recruiters would promise thousands of dollars if they'd take part in the scheme, which involved, they said, getting "bumped."

    "On the appointed day they would take them to a garage and put their arm on a stone block," Bigg said. "And they would smash the arm."

    In most cases the injury would be a compound facture with the bone showing through the skin, Bigg said--the better to persuade insurance companies to come up with big settlements.

    Bigg said the crew would alternate smashing arms and legs to ward off suspicion from insurance companies. "That was the pattern, one arm, one leg," he said.

    They'd then take the injured homeless person to a staged "accident" scene and call 911. The ringleaders would contact insurance companies posing as relatives and say they were "desperately in need of money and willing to settle in a hurry."

    Once the insurance check was issued, the perpetrators would cash them at currency exchanges. The injured people "got anything from nothing to $1,500" on settlements between $10,000 and $100,000, Bigg said.

    Investigators say they have six documented cases of the scam, but believe it occurred many more times.

    It may have gone undetected had it not been for people calling in with concerns over the number of homeless people showing up at shelters with broken arms and legs, said Bigg.
  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    OH MY G-D this is disgusting.
  4. by   nowplayingEDRN
    I think I better close my mouth right's draggin' the floor and making typing difficult. How could....never mind! Why...never mind! The derangement in this world is appalling....I am disgusted and sickened that someone would do this to desperate, down on their luck people.
  5. by   night owl
    It's hard to believe that there is such scum in this world, but I guess there is. That is one of the lowest things I've ever heard and it just sickens me to no end!
  6. by   Mkue
    I agree with all of the above, brings new meaning to the phrase

    "Money is the root of all evil".

    What a sad scam
  7. by   rebel_red
    Originally posted by UntamedSpirit
    The derangement in this world is appalling....I am disgusted and sickened that someone would do this to desperate, down on their luck people.
    And that folks irregardless of how they became so desperate and down on their luck would feel compelled to agree to this "arrangement".

    Fill in expletive of choice here....Hope those who dreamed up this scheme not only get the book thrown at them but get some old testament eye for an eye or a leg for a leg justice.

    Sorry but this is a real pi**er

  8. by   Ted
    Originally posted by mkue
    . . . .brings new meaning to the phrase

    "Money is the root of all evil".

    What a sad scam
    Ditto !!!

  9. by   gwenith
    Nasty, nasty, nasty.

    The real worry is that cases like this may actually damage your existing rights to sue and collect out of court settlement. Agreed that that whole industry is out of control but there is always an "it could be worse scenario"
  10. by   jnette
    I have no words to describe my feelings about this. Disgusting is too benign for me... don't even want to THINK about how this disturbs me...