Beauty Queen Faces Fraud Charges Again

Beauty Queen’s Acquittal Overturned and Fraud Charges Trail Continues

fraud chargesThe 9th Circuit overturned a lower court judge’s ruling on a beauty queen’s acquittal on insurance and mail fraud charges, which claim the woman defrauded her insurance company of $123,000 while her mansion was undergoing repairs.

Former Miss Montana Christin Didier was convicted by a jury in 2013 on insurance and mail fraud charges, as well as conspiracy, for collecting $123,000 from her home insurers, the Chubb Group, while her 110-year-old mansion underwent repairs for wind and fire damage. She originally purchased the mansion for $1.1 million, and after the damage to the home in 2011, Didier was forced to move out, and file for bankruptcy due to the cost of repair. The mansion was foreclosed on, and she was evicted.

Didier and co-defendant Surayya Nasir, who was her insurance broker at the time, told the Chubb Group that while the mansion underwent repairs, Didier incurred $15,250 per month on her living expenses, because she rented a cabin. Seven checks, totaling $122,791, were mailed from Illinois, where the Chubb Group is based, to Montana, where Didier lived.

However, the Chubb Group claimed that Didier did not incur a higher cost of living while her mansion underwent repairs for the wind storm and minor fire, because she actually lived rent-free in a cabin that her family owned. She was charged with conspiracy, insurance fraud, and seven counts of mail fraud – one for each insurance check sent.

However, US District Court Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula overturned the original jury’s verdict and granted Didier’s request for acquittal.

“Chubb argued to state and federal regulatory and investigative agencies that it had been victimized when Didier misrepresented the nature of her temporary residence,” Molloy wrote. “But, because Chubb was obligated to pay her an amount sufficient to maintain her standard of living in a mansion with multiple bedrooms, multiple baths, and even a ballroom, whatever she said could not have been material to Chubb.”

Now, a 3-judge panel in the 9th Circuit has overturned Molloy’s ruling, stating that Didier “misrepresented that she had incurred an increase in her living expenses,” because her policy agreed to cover reasonable increases in living expenses while she was unable to live at home.

“This was ‘capable of influencing’ the carrier’s decision to pay her pursuant to the policy,” the court wrote in an unpublished opinion, citing United States v. Blixt. “Even if the amount of expenses claimed would have been reasonable had Didier actually incurred them, the policy requirement of an ‘increase’ made Didier’s misrepresentations material.”

The Strom Law Firm Defends Against Fraud Charges, Including Wire, Mail, and Insurance Fraud

Our South Carolina federal criminal defense lawyers handle wire fraud cases involving:

  • Fraudulent insurance claims
  • Bond issuances and investment schemes
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Falsifying loan applications
  • Check fraud schemes
  • Bribes or kickbacks
  • False advertising or misrepresentation in sales transactions

As a former U.S. Attorney, Pete Strom handled these types of criminal fraud cases, from RICO violations to mail fraud and bank fraud. If you have been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, insurance fraud, bank fraud, RICO violations, or other federal fraud charges, contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss the most effective defense to your case and how to avoid further personal and professional damage. We handle your case with utmost discretion, exploring every viable strategy to secure a most favorable outlook.

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