Report: Woman defrauded insurance companies out of $5 million in phony injury schemes

Posted at 3:23 PM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 17:23:24-05

SPOKANE, Washington — A 58-year-old woman has been sentenced to nineteen counts of mail fraud and a slew of other crimes in what authorities are calling "an insurance and healthcare fraud scheme that staged over thirty accidents in Washington, Idaho, California and Nevada."

Sandra Talento, age 58, of Spokane, Washington, and Henderson, Nevada, was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in June of this year to nineteen counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

Chief United States District Judge Thomas Rice sentenced Talento to a 70-month prison term, to be followed by a 3-year term of court supervision after she is released from federal prison. Chief Judge Rice also ordered Talento to pay restitution in the amount of $2,100,000 and forfeiture of $2,100,000.

Prosecutors say Talento “was an integral member of an extensive money laundering, insurance and healthcare fraud scheme … that defrauded nineteen insurance companies out of $5,659,026 by filing fraudulent bodily injury claims.”

“Talento played an ‘injured victim’ in at least thirteen of the phony accidents and received medical treatment for fictitious or intentionally-inflicted injuries to her head and other parts of her body. Talento also laundered proceeds generated by the scheme,” they added.

According to court documents, in one twenty-day period in 2013, Talento deposited over $86,000 in fraud proceeds into her bank account. During a six-month period in 2014, she deposited over $270,000 in fraud proceeds into her account.

United States Attorney William Hyslop said, “Talento and her cohorts operated a sophisticated insurance/healthcare fraud and money laundering scheme over several years in four different states. Fraud schemes like these ultimately create higher insurance premiums for consumers. The sentence imposed reflects the significant role Talento played in the scheme -- and the fact that she profited from her fraud at the expense of the insurance and healthcare system.”

“Sandra Talento was personally involved in staged accidents that generated more than $5.5 million dollars of fraudulent insurance proceeds. Schemes like this cause hard-working American taxpayers to foot the bill by paying higher insurance premiums,” said Internal Revenue Service Special Agent-in-Charge Justin Campbell.