Blog Post

Terrifying Tales of Fraud to Keep You Up at Night

ACFE Community Manager

Rihonna Scoggins

As experienced fraud examiners know, fraud comes in many varieties, including tales that are truly frightening. These fraudsters were willing to play any type of trick to take their ill-begotten treats.

Read on to learn more about this year’s tales of terrifying fraud, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Six Feet Deep

A stolen Mercedes Benz filled with bags of unused concrete was discovered on October 20, 2022 in the yard of a multimillion-dollar home linked to one of San Joaquin County’s largest-ever insurance fraud schemes in the 1990s, Atherton Mayor Rick DeGolia said. Cadaver dogs alerted to possible human remains more than 24 hours after technicians with the San Mateo County Crime Lab began excavating the car, but none had been found

Casting Spells and Illusions

In 2002, Serhat Gumrukcu performed a magic act in which a cane appeared to levitate, and he was introduced as a medical student, using the stage name “Dr. No”. A little more than a decade later, after coming to the United States, he was involved in multimillion-dollar oil and real-estate deals. Yet his best-known venture was in medicine. For a time, he drew special notice from the government’s top infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci. In America, the magician found a new audience for his ideas about groundbreaking treatments.

Enochian Biosciences, co-founded in 2018 by Mr. Gumrukcu, paid more than $21 million to companies controlled by him and his husband for consulting, research and the licensing of potential drugs to treat influenza, hepatitis B, HIV and Covid-19.

However, this was yet another illusion cast by Dr. No. Despite his claims to represent a Turkish medical association, prosecutors allege that Mr. Gumrukcu misrepresented himself and his credentials in various business dealings. Prosecutors now allege that Mr. Gumrukcu arranged the murder of a business associate, Gregory Davis, who threatened to expose him as a fraud.

Bringing the Dead Back to Life Through Fraud

Throughout history, the act of grave-robbing has typically provided bandits with, alongside mounds of real dirt, a quick hit of pay dirt. Traditionally, a thief willing to roll up his sleeves and break a sweat might be rewarded with a fistful of jewelry or a stray gold tooth filling. However, in India, fraudsters have taken the concept of grave-robbing to a whole new level—quite literally–as they’ve moved operations above ground. What’s more troubling is the fact that now many of the victims being targeted aren’t even dead.

In the Indian state of Assam, and, more specifically, the district of Barpeta, fraud has emerged as a uniquely vexing problem for local law enforcement. From banking bribes to Ponzi schemes, the whole region has regrettably produced a plethora of fraud, thanks in no small part to economic hardship and widespread unemployment. However, insurance fraud has taken on a life of its own, or, perhaps more accurately, a death—several, in fact. The catch is, many of the “deceased” upon whom claims have been filed are not, in fact, dead. Some were never alive in the first place.

Read more.

Looking for more scary fraud stories? Dig in to the ACFE’s Fraud Graveyard.


SOURCE: ACFE Insights – A Publication of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

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