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A BIZARRE MEAL TICKET
The Couple Who Ate Glass

11/08/06

Image of glasses, one broken

You’ve heard the classic line, “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!”? Well, how about, “Sir, there’s glass in my food”?

For one Massachusetts couple, it was the scam du jour for over eight years. From 1997 to 2005, they used the glass-in-my-food ruse in more than ten restaurants and supermarkets stretching from Boston to Washington, D.C. In the process, they allegedly swindled insurance companies out of $200,000 and conned a generous helping of food establishments and hospitals along the way.

And the strangest part of all: the couple actually DID eat glass sometimes to make their claims seem legitimate.

The couple’s M.O. went something like this:

  • After ordering or buying food at restaurants, hotel bars, or supermarkets, either the husband or wife would “discover” glass in his or her food. They would then report the incident to management and fill out a report.
  • Soon after leaving the food establishment, the couple would arrive at a local emergency room with one of them complaining of severe stomach pain. After presenting fake IDs and Social Security cards to hospital staff, they’d allow doctors to examine them. In some cases, x-rays would show actual pieces of glass in their stomachs (but none of it came from the food they purchased).
  • Once released from the hospital, the couple would continue getting medical treatment for stomach pain. After racking up several thousand dollars in bills, they would file an insurance claim against the food establishment for their extensive “pain and suffering.”

But eventually the couple’s crime career began to unravel when the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts noticed a pattern of glass-eating claims in the state. The private industry organization eventually realized that most claims were being filed by the same couple and contacted us. We took it from there, uncovering the couple’s trail of insurance fraud across 3 states and the District of Columbia.

Swallow this! On March 16, the couple was indicted on mail fraud, identity theft, Social Security fraud, and making false statements on healthcare matters. The husband was arrested less than a month later, but his wife—and partner in crime—is still on the lam.

To learn more about the case, read the April press release. And to find out about more interesting scam investigations, see our White-Collar Crime page.