For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: April 22, 2009

Former Teton Valley Couple Sentenced For Conspiracy to Commit Insurance Fraud

(BOISE) - Former Driggs residents Joe Lene Kuntz and Edward Bruschi were sentenced for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Sixth District Judge Jonathan Schinderling sentenced Edward Bruschi, on Tuesday, to probation, with 90 days of discretionary jail time and 100 hours of community service, and ordered him to be jointly liable with Joe Lene Kuntz for repayment of $49,206 in fraudulently-obtained worker’s compensation benefits. Kuntz was sentenced to probation in November 2008.

Joe Lene Kuntz had no health insurance when she was injured in a skiing accident at Grand Targhee Ski Resort on March 4, 2007. An incident report from the ski resort states that Kuntz had to be transported off of the mountain on a toboggan with the assistance of ski patrol personnel. The report was signed by Kuntz and a member of the ski patrol. She and Bruschi then conspired to file a false worker’s compensation claim stating she was an employee of Bruschi’s and injured her knee after she fell off a truck at work.

According to records from the Idaho State Insurance Fund, Kuntz received $49,206.36 in worker’s compensation benefits. The benefits included a $1,500 advance on her worker’s compensation settlement to pay delinquent bills and to reinstate her real estate license. She also received another $1,500 to attend job training in Alberta, Canada.

Bruschi contacted the State Insurance Fund on January 10, 2008, to report Kuntz’s false worker’s compensation claim. He reported the ski-related injury and admitted to investigators that he and Kuntz conspired together to file a false worker’s compensation claim and further admitted that Kuntz was not working at his business when the injury occurred. Bruschi also claimed that Kuntz was attempting to extort money from him.

The Idaho Department of Insurance investigated the case, and the Insurance Crimes Unit of the Attorney General’s Criminal Law Division prosecuted the case at the request of the Teton County Prosecuting Attorney. Deputy Attorney General Kenneth M. Robins prosecuted the case.

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