LACONIA — A Gilford woman charged with making false claims that she was injured by skin care products is asking a judge to throw out incriminating statements she allegedly made to investigators asserting she was not informed of her rights against self-incrimination and to have a lawyer present when being questioned
Rebecca Hearn, 40, is charged with insurance fraud, two counts of theft by deception and two counts of attempted theft by deception alleging that she received or attempted to receive payouts totaling $11,535 by submitting misleading claims forms, bogus patient summaries, hospital bills and photographs to insurers regarding her use of products sold by four different companies.
The indictments for theft by deception claim that Hearn made false statements regarding her use of products made by Yes To Inc. and Garnier and/or L’Oreal USA in order to obtain payments totaling $5,271.52 for injuries and/or pain and suffering.
The attempted theft charge alleges that she prepared and/or presented a false statement regarding her use of products made by Garnier and/or L’Oreal USA and Karuna Skin LLC, for claims totaling $6,264.
On Aug. 8, 2018, members of the state Insurance Fraud Unit (NHIFU) and Gilford police arrived at Hearn’s 20 Bedford Ave. home to execute a search warrant. Investigators Thomas Wickey and Brendan Harris of the Fraud Unit explained the nature and purpose of the search, and then questioned Hearn about her claim involving a “facial mask.”
Created by the Legislature in 1993, the Fraud Unit handles more than 300 cases annually. State law requires all insurers to report suspected fraud to the NHIFU and to have antifraud initiatives in place that will result in the detection, prosecution, and prevention of fraudulent insurance acts.
Laconia attorney David Bownes, who represents Hearn, has filed a motion asking a judge to suppress statements the defendant allegedly made, citing the manner in which the search warrant was executed, the number of law enforcement agents involved, and the circumstances of the initial contact asserting that no reasonable person would have felt free to leave and as a result she should have been warned that anything she said to police could be used against her in court.
After his client made statements about the alleged criminal conduct, Bownes detailed in court filings that Hearn was asked to go to the police station for an interview. Prior to leaving her house, Hearn asked that she be able to use the bathroom and change her clothes.
During that time, Bownes claims, she had additional discussions with Wickey about her checkbook and inquiry was made of her checking account.
According to Bownes, no Miranda warning was given.
During the subsequent interview at the police station, Bownes argues that his client said she was unsure of what to do and mentioned that she thought she might need a lawyer. With that declaration, the investigator should have stopped questioning her, Bownes maintains.
Rather than honoring her request for counsel, Bownes wrote that Wickey gave her some time, but advised her that she had already confirmed that she used her computer to communicate with the insurance company and that she did not — as she reported to the insurer — require hospital treatment.
“Investigator Hickey reminded her that she verified and agreed that the documents associated with her submission to the manufacturer and insurance company (were) fabricated and made up,” he wrote.
Bownes argues that the statements made by Wickey were “expressly designed to illicit incriminating statements.”firstname.lastname@example.org