Joseph Paul Ort, 37, of Crofton, pleaded guilty to felony theft. He received a five-year sentence, all but four weekends of which was suspended, and was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution. He also received five years of probation.
A joint investigation by Office of the Attorney General and the Maryland Insurance Administration Insurance Fraud Division revealed that Ort regularly falsified documents while working as a claims adjustor in the Columbia office of Nationwide Insurance.
The investigation showed that Ort added fictitious people and injuries to legitimate claims, or increased the value of claims by adding fake injuries. Between December 2012 and November 2013, Ort collected Visa debit cards as payments for those claims on 22 different occasions, keeping the cards for personal use. Ort used the company database to record that the cards had been sent to the policy holders themselves, but those policy holders were unaware of the scheme, according to the investigation.
"We all pay the price when people use positions of responsibility to abuse the system," Attorney General Frosh said. "Our investigators did a great job getting to the bottom of this scheme."
Ort had previously repaid most of the stolen funds to the insurance company.