My conversation with Dan Skelly of the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau
First a little background:
Mike has a distant cousin, Steve Combs, who used to work for the FBI.
a year ago I contacted Steve and much to my surprise found out that he
to law school and was now working for the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud
I asked him if he'd look into this matter. Last September 10th, on the
also visited the Massachusetts Department of Insurance, I went to the
I had 2 notebooks full of information for Mr. Combs. He was not in the
but another investigator, Michael Gray, listened to my story for 45
At the end he threw up his hands, and with no explanation, says
something to the
effect that he wishes he could help but he can't. I left the notebooks
for Mr. Combs.
When I saw Steve at Thanksgiving I asked him what he was doing and he
I asked him to reconsider. The next time I saw Steve at a family
gathering I asked
him, why, if this is the INSURANCE FRAUD BUREAU, they will not
investigate UNUM, since
I've provided them with ample evidence. His response "I can't
investigate if I'm told
NOT to investigate." The only reason I didn't name him in the lawsuit
is because Mike
asked me not to, and because Steve's mother is a very nice lady. I am
the IFB and Michael Gray for dereliction of duties.
Meanwhile State Senator Stephen Brewer had written a few letters to the
Massachusetts Department of Insurance asking them how they could have
claimed I had Independent Medical Examinations that I insist I never
They wrote back some BS and in Jan. 1998, Senator Brewer dropped the
never followed up despite the fact that they totally ignored his
Last month, his aide, April Anderson, came to Monson in one of those
the people" sessions. I was the only one who showed up, of course. I
into detail with her about what was going on, gave her copies of my
the Insurance Commission letters and Senator Brewer's letters and she
they would write some more letters to the Department of Insurance. I
that would be a waste of time, that Senator Brewer needed to meet with
State Senator Mary Rogeness and put pressure on the AG to criminally
UNUM. I had spoken to Mary Rogeness, in person, at length, 2 months
given her copies of the documentation. She had told me she'd get
Brewer. She never did and I never heard from her again.
So what Brewer did was right ANOTHER letter to the Dept. of Insurance
and one to
the Insurance Fraud Bureau. First though he wrote me a letter trying to
tell me that
the IFB only investigates auto insurance fraud, but as I said, I checked
So the IFB has not yet recieved their copy of the lawsuit but I got the
This is a verbatim transcipt from the tape recording that Mr. Skelly
The first sentence was cut off because I was asking permission to tape
JM: ".since Massachusetts is a two-party state, do I have your
DS: "My name is Dan Skelly. I'm the Chief Investigator for the
Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts."
JM; "OK, what can I do for you?"
DS: "I recieved a letter from State Senator Stephen Brewer concerning
claim against UNUM Insurance Company."
DS: "In that letter he also sent me copies of letters from you to him."
DS: "What I don't have is what the status of your claim is or the reason
for any denial."
JM: (I was surprised that he was just addressing the issue of this
seemed to have no idea that it went much deeper than this)
"You're about to get a lawsuit. Because I was at the Insurance Fraud
last Novermber (actually September 10, 1997) and
talked to Michael Gray. I also talked to and gave lots of
information to, UM...
DS: "So we already have this case in house?"
JM: "Steve Combes and they told me they couldn't investigate unless they
DS: "Um Hm"
JM: "And, um, when you get the lawsuit you'll understand what's going
DS: "Oh, Fine."
JM: "if you want to wait for that, basically this insurance company is
in massive fraud, extortion, and they've driven at least one person
and another one attempted suicide, and I have it all documented."
DS: (Silence) Then, "so evidently there's nothing you want to talk to me
about in this case."
JM: "Well, I would have liked you to investigate, but it's a little bit
late for that."
DS: "Oh, OK, fine."
JM: "That's it?"
DS: "Well that's strictly up to you, I'm calling you as...
JM: (interrupting) "well, let me ask you, do you investigate insurance
DS: "Of course we do."
JM: "Is it against the law for an insurance company to lie to deny a
DS: "Well it's probably more of a regulatory function. Market conduct
by the Insurance Commissioner."
JM: "Well, I've been to the insurance commissioner and they wrote me a
an outright lie in it claiming I'd had medical exams I
never had, and then told me they didn't see where that was a lie."
DS: "Doctor, let me tell you something. I'm doing a favor of the
Senator by reaching
out to you. I didn't realize that you had spoken to some of my
people earlier on.
Uh, if you want...
JM: "Well, it seems to me it would have been their job to have gone to
you to discuss
this case with you considering that both the insurance company and
commissioner have told outright lies to me in writing. That there
is a pattern
of abuse going on throughout the country, and, um, ..I'm sorry,
I'm out of
breath, um..and, uh, nobody seemed to want to do anything about it."
JM: "I'm going to ask you again. Is it legal for an insurance company to
to deny a claim?"
DS: "No, it certainly seems like a contractual violation."
JM: "Alright, if an insurance company writes outright lies about a
writing, and then the insurance commissioner also writes outright
lies about a person,
in writing, and that person is forced to attempt to file a
contentious, lengthy and
expensive lawsuit in order to collect what they are contractually
entitled to, is that fraud?"
DS: "It could be."
JM: "Could be" (Laughs) "What exactly is fraud?"
DS: "A deliberate deception."
JM: "Alright, well, there was plenty of deliberate deceptions."
DS: "Get you."
JM: "Plenty of deliberate deceptions in my case and in the rest of the
documented. I'm sorry, what did you say your name was again?"
JM: "Skelly? You're not the director of it?"
DS: "I am the Chief."
JM: "The Chief....because I addressed it to Dan Grabauski, I think...is
that's the..Skelly, um...was there another Chief before you?"
DS: "No, I was the first one and the only one."
JM: "You're from the Insurance FRAUD BUREAU?"
JM: "That's on Arch Street."
JM: "I was in your office....last November (As I said, it was actually
December, I can't remember which..and, um, somebody told me
that, in fact I
called there a few days ago, to find out the name of the Chief,
DS: "You probably got the name of my Executive Director."
JM: "Who was that?"
DS: "Dan Johnston."
JM: "That's the one. That's who the suit is addressed to. And I mailed
it out yesterday."
DS: "Are you represented by counsel?"
JM: "No I'm represented by myself."
JM: "so you can't, uh,..uh, try and um, ..um, influence them against
DS: "I'm sorry?"
JM: "So you can't try and influence my lawyer against me, as is
happening in many
of these cases."
DS: (Chuckle) "I wouldn't be interested in doing that."
JM: "I'm sure you wouldn't....no, everybody in this entire,whole thing,
totally honest and up front. Well I think a jury will have a
little bit different view of that."
DS: "Well, we'll probably see you in court in about 7 years."
JM: "Seven years. I'm sorry, is that a threat?"
DS: "No, I'm just saying that's the way the system is on the Civil side,
JM: "Well, I was told that in a Federal Case you get to court within a
there's discovery abuses."
DS: "I wish you well." (silence)
JM: "Well, are you denying that there's any problem? Are you not going
DS: "I have no idea. I haven't seen the file."
JM: "Well let me ask you a question. Are you going to go to...."
DS: (unintelligible)...two letters to a State Senator....."
JM: "You had no idea anything else was going on? Let me ask you a
DS: "I never heard your name before, Doctor."
JM: "If somebody comes to two members of the Insurance Fraud Bureau with
fraud and extortion wouldn't it be their duty to talk to
the director? Is he not responsible, vicariously for the behavior
of his subordinates?"
DS: "Oh, yes, certainly, vicariously responsible, yes. Understand we
have 18,000 cases here."
JM: "Right, and so they did not bother to talk to you about the
allegations, believe me,
I didn't come just once, all right. And I gave Steve Combs two
JM: "Now are you going to look into it?"
DS: "Well I'm going to certainly speak to the people you spoke to."
JM: "Unfortunately I'm a little too busy to resend you all that
DS: "No, don't."
JM: "As it's already in your office."
DS: "Did you leave it here with him?"
DS: "OK, then it must be here then."
JM: "Steve Combs should have it...and the other fellow I talked to for
and he threw up his hands and said 'Sorry, we wish we could help you
but we can't'
and without any reason why."
JM: "OK, um, you caught me off guard. I don't have any questions for you
Your lawsuit should be arriving to your Johnston guy within a day or
DS: "Uh mmm"
JM: "And it's pretty self explanatory. It's racketeering. Do you know
DS: "I've been around, yup, I have."
JM: "Do you know what it is when an insurance company has a pattern of
misdiagnosing people, practicing medicine without a license across
harassing people, inappropriate....oh, here's a good question for
you. Um. When
an insurance company sics private investigators on somebody,
for instance, do they have to have some rationale for doing this? Or
can they just
say, 'Oh, I think I'll have some people follow this person around?"
DS: "No it's not done without reason or cause."
JM: "Are there laws for this? I'd like a copy of them."
DS: "Are there's laws dictating...
JM: "laws, regulations, guidelines, something that, um, dictates the
Private Investigators? Particularly in insurance cases."
DS: "Well, there is a licensing authority by the Massachusetts State
licenses Private Investigators."
JM: "Would you please send me, um..."
DS: "I don't have that. That's a whole different..."
JM: "And you can't get them."
DS: "I don't have it. I don't have it at my fingertips."
JM: "I know. I'm not asking you to give it to me right now. I'm asking
to DO something."
DS: "That's not what I do for a living, Doc."
JM: "Alright, I can see. Alright, so in other words, pass the buck
You can't even. I mean you are in touch with these people on a
and you can't get a copy of the laws and have them sent to me."
DS: "Well, maybe State Senator Stephen Brewer could do that for you."
JM: "No I can do it myself. It's just that it will take me an entire
day to go to
the law library whereas this is your regular business. You use
Private Investigators ..."
DS: "We don't use Private Investigators, Doctor."
JM: "Yes it does.
DS: "I don't have anything to do with Private Investigators."
JM: "Private Investigators were misused in my case."
DS: "I understand that but I don't have anything to do with Private
JM: "The Insurance Fraud Bureau doesn't use Private Investigators to
DS: "Do I? No."
JM: "Not you personally. Your division. Stop playing with words."
DS: "Not at all, not at all. Not once."
JM: "Well how DO you investigate insurance fraud. What about that case
where I saw
on television where you had the woman videotaped?"
DS: "It was probably done by the company."
JM: "No they said it was the insurance fraud bureau."
DS: "Don't believe everything you read in the paper."
JM: "It was on television. So you never use private investigators in
DS: "I'm sorry?"
JM: "You never use Private Investigators."
DS: "We never outsource any investigation."
JM: "Well do you have inside investigators that...."
DS: "Yeah, of course."
JM: "videotape people?"
DS: "Sure, we have the capability."
JM: "All right. So you just tried to decieve me by claiming that you did
investigators to videotape people."
DS: "You said PRIVATE Investigators. That's what your question was.
JM: "I didn't know there was a difference between a Private
you if they would send out investigators to videotape
intentionally tried to decieve me."
DS: "Doc, you got to listen to yourself." (He may be right, here, I'll
be A LOT
MORE SPECIFIC WHEN TALKING TO THESE people in the future. Good
practice for when I
get in front of the judge and they try to weasel.)
JM: "Look I don't know the difference between Private and Public. The
DS: "I'm trying to point that out to you."
JM: " It is your duty, if I am mis...if I am slightly mistaken, that I
word PRIVATE and you DO have investigators that you send out to
that it is your fiduciary duty and your duty as a public servant to
attempt to clear
up the misperception."
DS: "Which is what I just tried to do."
JM: "Only after I asked you repeatedly because I could not believe that
DIDN'T go out and investigate and videotape people."
DS: "You didn't ask me that. Doc, you asked me if we had used Private
JM: "Just stop playing with words, All right. You knew what I meant."
DS: "Geez, I really did not. That's beside the point."
JM: "Well we'll let a jury decide about that."
DS: "I'll talk to Mr. Gray and see what paperwork is in here. If I have
to say, I'll...."
JM: "Wait, I had another question that I would like answered..."
DS: "...Or I'll get back to you."
JM: "I have another question about your division There was a report in
by Peter Canellos that said your division receives, you're a public
you're a division of the Attorney General's office, is that
DS: "Mmmm, well it's created by legislation, privately funded."
JM: "Privately funded. How much, I'd like to know the source of your
DS: "It's 50% from the Worker's Compensation Insurance Companies and 50%
Automobile Insurance Companies."
JM: "Is there, where I can get a list of these, uh funding sources, and
DS: "Sure, the Division of Insurance, the Commissioner's office."
JM: (laughs) "Hmm, OK....Let me get your phone number in case I have any
DS: "Sure, 617-"
JM: "O439. And your name again?"
JM: "How do you spell it?"
JM: "First name"
JM: "Dan Skelly. And you're the director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
And you never heard of me before."
DS: "No, I never have, and I'm the Chief."
JM: "The Chief. OK. All Right. Well that means your subordinates are
not keeping you informed then.'
DS: "That might be true."
JM: "um hmm. OK. If I think of any other questions I'll give you a
DS: "All right, all the best."
Well I'm dizzy from spinning around in circles. So, despite the fact
it's called the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau, it was created by
of the State Legislature, they admittedly investigate INSURANCE FRAUD,
they work with the A.G.'s office (although I didn't get a straight
answer to that
question), BUT they are FUNDED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY. He didn't
come right out
and say they don't INVESTIGATE insurance companies but did refer me
back to the
very division I'm accusing of collusion - The Department of Insurance.
the fact that they have internal investigators who investigate fraud
videotapes, he cannot get me a copy of the guidelines for this type of
He also can't get me a copy of the funding sources for his division.
fact that I gave one of their investigators, my boyfriend's cousin 2
of evidence, and spoke with him and wrote him on several occasions
Despite the fact that on Sept. 10, 1997 I spent 45 minutes talking to
of his senior investigator's Michael Gray in person, neither of these
men EVER went
to the Chief to ask if they could investigate this case. Excuse me, but
awfully fishy around here.
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Created: October 29, 1998
Last Updated: May 28, 2000