CONCORD — A Hampton woman pleaded guilty in federal court this week to mail fraud charges resulting from a scheme that had netted her more than $200,000.
According to court documents and statements, Jacqueline Masse, 49, of Hampton sent letters to restaurants and food companies falsely claiming she or a family member became seriously ill after eating their foods. In other letters mailed to restaurants and food companies, she assumed the identity of family members and falsely claimed they had also become ill.
In each of the 12 letters, Masse claimed the letter’s writer had paid or borrowed money to pay hospital bills and other medical expenses incurred to treat an illness because they did not have personal health insurance, according to U.S. Attorney Scott Murray. Each letter demanded the affected restaurant or food company reimburse the writer for medical expenses and provide financial compensation for pain and suffering.
According to court documents and statements made in court, to back up claims made in each demand letter Masse provided fraudulent medical records allegedly obtained from hospitals in New Hampshire and Massachusetts as false evidence of the fictitious illnesses.
She used fraudulent bank account and credit card statements as false evidence that the writer had dined at the affected restaurant or bought food packaged by the affected food company. Masse also used fraudulent invoices from hospitals and an ambulance company as false evidence of medical expenses.
In correspondence with the insurance carriers, Masse demanded payments totaling more than $399,000. Some of the insurance companies responded by mailing insurance settlement checks totaling more than $206,000 to Masse’s home in Hampton and homes associated with her family members (who were unwitting participants in the scheme, authorities said).
Masse is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 28.
“Insurance fraud has a serious impact on hard-working individuals and families, as it drives up their insurance premiums and makes it more difficult to collect on legitimate claims,” said Murray in a statement.