Couples videotape themselves committing insurance fraud
By: CJ Cassidy
Union County, IL - Why would you tape yourself committing a crime? Police and prosecutors in Union County don't really care, they're just glad they got their hands on the evidence.
People video tape birthdays weddings and anniversaries.
A few, it seems, like to watch themselves committing a crime. Still, two Union County couples never expected to end up out on a limb, the way they did.
The plan they put into action was to slam Robert and Teresa Hammond's van into a tree and pick up the insurance check.
"The first time the van is crashed into the tree, Robert Hammond is driving the vehicle. Then the next two times, it's driven by Paul Gaines; Margaret Dillavou's boyfriend," States Attorney Allen James says.
He adds, the Hammonds owed Margaret Dillavou rent money.
She picked up the insurance check, but then, lost the tape.
"Her husband received a stack of video tapes as part of his divorce settlement. Going through those tapes he realized on one was footage of insurance fraud being committed," James says.
The angry ex-husband turned the tape in to police, and the States Attorney had a case as clear cut as black and white.
So, why would you videotape yourself committing a crime?
"It appears they were having a party," James offers up as an explanation. He adds "we'd like to educate people you can't do this, but we may end up educating people you don't videotape yourself committing a crime!"
Joking aside, James says insurance fraud is a very serious crime.
Initially the couples faced felony charges that carried up up five years in prison, but after paying the insurance company the $4,300 they defrauded, they pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges instead.