Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

Deadpan Court Decision of the Day

The first paragraph of United States v. Veysey, No. 01-4208 (7th Cir. June 26, 2003) [ 11-page PDF] reads:

John Veysey appeals from his conviction, after a jury trial, and sentence of 110 years in prison for mail and wire fraud, arson, and the related offense of felony by fire. The facts are amazing, but we shall resist the temptation to recount them at length. In 1991 Veysey set fire to his house and inflated the claim that he then filed with his insurer. The insurer paid, and the house was rebuilt. The following year Veysey married a woman named Kemp, increased the insurance on the house, removed the valuable contents of the house, along with himself and his wife, and then cut the naturalgas line inside the house, causing the house to fill up with gas and explode spectacularly, utterly destroying it. He grossly exaggerated the value of the property allegedly lost in the explosion—some did not exist and some he had removed before the explosion. The insurance company (a different one) paid, and he used part of the proceeds to buy another house. The next year he tried to kill his wife by driving his van with her in it into a river. When that failed he killed her by poisoning her, and collected $200,000 in the proceeds of insurance policies on her life. He placed personal ads in newspapers, seeking to meet women. He became engaged to one of the women he met through his ads, named Donner, but broke his engagement after failing to procure a $1 million policy on her life. He then took up with a Ms. Beetle. This was in 1996 and the same year he burned down his house, again submitting an inflated estimate of the loss and receiving substantial proceeds from the insurance company (a different one, again). He then married Beetle, and they moved into a rented house. She insured her life for $500,000 with him as beneficiary. One night in 1998, after drugging her, he set fire to the house, hoping to kill both her and their infant son, on whom he had also taken out a life insurance policy and who was in the house with her. They were rescued, and soon afterwards Veysey and Beetle divorced. The house was rebuilt and Veysey persuaded a woman named Hilkin to move in with him after she had accumulated some $700,000 in life insurance and named him as the primary beneficiary. He apparently intended to murder her, but he was arrested before his plans matured. There is more, but these are the highlights.

(Emphasis added.)

After dismissing Veysey's challenges to his conviction and sentence, Judge Posner dryly notes in the last paragraph of the decision:

We wish to remark finally the apparent carelessness of the insurance companies, particularly the fire-insurance companies, in failing to pool information concerning fire claims. As a result of this failure, the insurers who insured Veysey against the last three fires were unaware of his previous claim or claims. This is a matter deserving of the industry's attention—and, with recent improvements in electronic storage and retrieval, beginning to receive it. Bruce R. Fox, "Technology: The New Weapon in the War on Insurance Fraud," 67 Def. Couns. J. 237, 241- 42 (2000).

Uh, what he said.

(Why yes, I can't sleep, why do you ask?)

[ Link via How Appealing. ]

Tags: law

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