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Archive for Sunday, March 16, 2003

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March 16, 2003

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Kentucky: Companies guilty of insurance fraud

A company that pays terminally ill people for their life insurance policies and three of its executives have been convicted of helping clients get insured by concealing their illnesses.

Prosecutors said Kelco Inc. executives encouraged or knew about the fraud, including cases in which terminally ill people substituted healthy blood for their own to obtain policies.

A federal jury Friday convicted Kelco, sister company Genesis Viatical, founder and chief executive Stephen Keller and vice president of sales Grant Sutherlin of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. Keith Drach, Lexington-based Kelco's chief financial officer, was convicted of conspiracy.

The individuals could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, and the companies could be ordered to pay up to $30 million in fines and restitution.

New York: Firefighters' 9-11 claims could cost $12 billion

A lawyer for the city estimated that Sept. 11-related lawsuits brought by firefighters could cost the city up to $12 billion.

The city's Law Department has set up a special World Trade Center defense unit of 21 lawyers to handle 1,700 cases stemming from the attack on the World Trade Center, Michael A. Cardozo, the city's corporation counsel, said at a City Hall budget hearing Friday.

The majority of the claims come from firefighters, who, along with some police officers and sanitation workers, say a lack of proper respiratory equipment during the recovery and cleanup of ground zero caused health problems.

Cardozo said the cases would last for many years. He said the special defense unit had a budget of $3 million and was creating a database for five million to seven million documents it will use to fight the lawsuits.

Virginia: Delaware sports writer killed by propeller

A sports writer for a Delaware newspaper was killed when he was struck by the propeller of the small airplane as it prepared to take off, authorities said Saturday.

Ed Murphy, 46, a reporter for The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., was leaving Richmond where he covered the Delaware State University women's basketball team when the accident occurred shortly before midnight Friday.

Officials said Murphy, a passenger in the private, single-engine Cessna 172, got out to remove the blocks from under the airplane's nose wheel and was struck by the propeller.

He died before airport rescue personnel arrived.

The News Journal reported on its Web site that the plane was flown by Gary Emeigh of Milford, Del., a photographer for the newspaper.

California: Laptop with sensitive political information lost

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign picked up $900,000 at a California fund-raiser, but lost a laptop computer containing sensitive campaign information.

Campaign spokesman Chris Lehane said the laptop was stolen from his car while he was eating lunch. Lehane said a waiter told him he saw a middle-aged man pull up next to Lehane's car, smash a window, snatch the computer and speed off.

"The information in the computer far exceeded the value of the computer," Lehane said.

He filed a police report, and a witness wrote down the license plate of the suspect's vehicle, but police determined the plate had been stolen.

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