Sentencing today in senior insurance scam

Sentencing is scheduled today for a Las Vegas couple who pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from a $3 million insurance scam in which hundreds of seniors in San Diego County and other parts of the state were tricked into buying phony “in-home service agreements” for tasks such as cooking, cleaning and bathing.

Michael Woodward, 50, pleaded guilty in June to residential burglary, theft from an elder, sale of insurance without authorization and failure to file a tax return, along with an allegation that he stole more than $500,000.

He faces 11 years in prison.

Melissa Woodward, 48, pleaded guilty to failure to file a 2006 tax return and will be placed on five years probation.

Prosecutors said they have identified up to 250 victims in San Diego County and another 150 to 200 victims in the rest of California. Hundreds of additional victims were located in Texas, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington, said Deputy District Attorney Michael Zachry.

The prosecutor said losses include $1.8 million in San Diego County and $1.2 million in other parts of the state.

The defendants would target the elderly at their homes, telling them that for a prepaid annual fee, they would have access to an unlimited amount of non-medical services such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, dressing, laundry and shopping. To receive services, Michael Woodward told the victims they should call him and provide a doctor’s note, prosecutors said.

In reality, the offer was a sham, according to authorities, who said Woodward and his wife were the only employees of the company and were not able to provide the in-home services he promised.

Inexpensive claims were often paid, but when victims made claims that were more expensive, Michael Woodward would not return phone calls and would reject the claim, according to prosecutors.

   
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