April 17, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
FREDERICK MAN SENTENCED
FOR FILING FALSE CLAIM
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
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 Lances, Inc. from April
24, 1997 through June 20 1997 and then in the same capacity for
Toms 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 Lances and Toms,
determining that the work performed for Lances and Toms
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
Heflins request in imposing the sentence, noting the amount
of money that Heflin received and the continuing nature of Heflins
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."
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.