Des Moines, Iowa - Ashley Erin Murphy Schneider, age 37, of Muscatine was recently sentenced by United States Chief District Judge John A. Jarvey to 18 months in federal prison following a joint investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau and the United States Postal Inspection Service.  Along with the prison sentence, Schneider was ordered to serve three years of supervised release following imprisonment, pay a special assessment of $700 to the Crime Victims’ Fund, and ordered to repay $197,603.45 in restitution.

The sentence comes after Schneider pled guilty to five counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud on September 17, 2019.  The investigation into Schneider’s actions began in October 2017 by Fraud Bureau special investigators following a referral received from the insurance carrier.  During the investigation, it was revealed that while acting as an insurance agent, Schneider created policies using inaccurate information in order to create group policies and obtain coverage.  Subsequent internal investigation into these policies resulted in her employment termination in 2015.

“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime.  We all pay for insurance fraud in the form of higher insurance costs,” Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said.  “Insurance agents hold a position of trust. Consumers should rest assured that the Iowa Insurance Division will continue to investigate and hold accountable any individual who misuses their position in order to profit through deceptive acts.”

Following her termination, Schneider made claims on one of the policies she created which provided supplemental benefits for cancer diagnosis and treatment covering a minor child.  Between November 24, 2015 and January 9, 2017, Schneider filed over 50 claims, receiving benefits of over $190,000 for cancer treatments for the minor. Subsequent investigation revealed that documentation submitted had been altered to present incorrect patient identifying data. The minor child had never actually been diagnosed with, nor treated for cancer.

“Once funds are paid out, it’s very difficult to get them back from a person committing fraud.  Our office appreciates insurers coming forward to report fraud, cooperating with our investigation and taking action,” Ommen said.  “I’d like to specifically thank the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Iowa and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their efforts and resources to successfully investigate this case.”

Consumers are encouraged to carefully review their explanation of benefits (EOB) received from their insurance company. Make certain to check for accuracy in dates of service, treatments provided and physicians seen.  If you believe your medical identity has been used without your authorization, you should report it to your insurance company. If you identify errors in your EOB, contact your provider.

Iowans with information about insurance fraud are encouraged to contact the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau at 515-242-5304.