A Massachusetts man has been arrested on charges that he and his wife were involved in a multi-state glass-eating insurance fraud scheme, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Ronald Evano and his wife, Mary Evano, who is still being sought, filed several fraudulent insurance claims in which they said they had eaten glass found in their food at restaurants, hotels and grocery stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland, according to the indictment made public Friday.
The couple used several aliases, several false Social Security numbers, several identity cards and had lived in Maryland and West Virginia as well as Massachusetts, prosecutors said.
In some cases, prosecutors said, the Evanos had eaten glass, but they did so intentionally to support their insurance claims. The glass did not come from the food they had bought, prosecutors said.
The indictment claims that between 1997 and 2005, the Evanos filed fraudulent insurance claims worth more than $200,000 and left a trail of unpaid medical bills worth more than $100,000.
It started in August 1997, when Mary Evano, using the alias Mary Dixon, went to Beth Israel hospital in Boston claiming to have eaten glass at a Boston restaurant. The couple, who were then apparently living in Weymouth, settled with the restaurant's insurer for $22,000, according to the indictment.
About a year later, Mary Evano went to a Lowell hospital claiming to have ingested glass at a Burlington restaurant. That led to an insurance settlement of nearly $12,000.
In the following years, one or both of them claimed to have eaten glass at various establishments in Braintree and Quincy, Mass.; Bethesda and Gaithersburg, Md.; Washington D.C.; Providence, R.I.; and Midlothian, Va., the indictment said.
They usually used aliases and often presented hospitals with invalid Social Security numbers, prosecutors said. The hospitals often reported medical conditions consistent with glass ingestion.
The Evanos, whose ages prosecutors could not provide, are charged with conspiracy and multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, identity fraud, Social Security fraud and making false statements on health care matters.
Ronald Evano is being held by police in Maryland. He is scheduled to return to Massachusetts where he will be charged in U.S district court, the U.S. attorney's office said.
It could not immediately be determined if they had legal representation.