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For Immediate Release
April 17, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

PRINCE FREDERICK MAN SENTENCED
FOR FILING FALSE CLAIM

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Dennis Louis Heflin, 44, of Prince Frederick, was sentenced to jail for insurance fraud. A Wicomico County jury found Heflin guilty of making fraudulent representations in support of a disability claim on November 19, 2002. On Monday, April 14, 2003, in the Circuit Court for Wicomico County, Judge Donald C. Davis sentenced Heflin to five years and six months in prison and suspended five years of the sentence. Heflin will be required to serve five years of supervised probation after his release, and to pay restitution totaling $63,066.47 to the Hartford Insurance Company.

The jury returned a guilty verdict after hearing evidence that on August 11, 1997 Heflin submitted an application for long-term disability benefits claiming that he had been injured on March 6, 1997, that he was not working due to his injury and that his injury would keep him from working in the future. However, the jury also heard that Heflin worked as a route salesman for Lance’s, Inc. from April 24, 1997 through June 20 1997 and then in the same capacity for Tom’s Foods, Inc. from July 7, 1997 through October 16, 1997. When the Hartford Insurance Company discovered that Heflin was employed during the time he claimed to be disabled, the company compared the job duties Heflin had as an assistant manager at Food Lion to the duties of the job position he held at Lance’s and Tom’s, determining that the work performed for Lance’s and Tom’s was more physically demanding. Heflin had received over $63,000 in benefit checks by the time that the Hartford Insurance Company discontinued the payment of benefits.

Heflin requested the judge impose a fully suspended sentence or permit him to serve any period of incarceration in home detention. The Office of the Attorney General pointed to the long period of time that Heflin received payments, and the amount of money that Heflin received, and recommended that the court impose a split sentence that would include significant incarceration. Judge Davis rejected Heflin’s request in imposing the sentence, noting the amount of money that Heflin received and the continuing nature of Heflin’s conduct.

"Mr. Heflin drew long term disability checks from the insurance company and regular paychecks from his employer at the same time," Attorney General Curran said. "That kind of double-dipping is called insurance fraud and Mr. Heflin now has six months in jail to figure out how he plans to re-pay the $63,000."

The convictions follow a joint investigation conducted by the Insurance Fraud Division of the Maryland Insurance Administration, the Maryland State Police, and the Office of the Attorney General.

 

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