Ogemaw County man ordered to repay $775,000 from insurance fraud scam

Darrell Hardenburgh claimed to be wheelchair bound after a crash, but a backhoe theft case proved otherwise, police say
Ogemaw County Sheriff's Office
Ogemaw County Sheriff's Office(WJRT)
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 12:32 PM EDT
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OGEMAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - A West Branch man will spend 90 days and jail and must pay back $775,000 he received from an alleged insurance fraud scam.

Investigators say Darrell Lee Hardenburgh claimed an auto accident left him wheelchair bound, so he received in-home care and a variety of medical equipment. Hastings Mutual Insurance and Hanover Insurance Group paid for his care and equipment.

The Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a backhoe theft in which Hardenburgh was the suspect when police uncovered information about his alleged scheme. Police determined that he could walk and did not need a wheelchair.

Hastings Mutual Insurance later filed an insurance fraud claim with state regulators against Hardenburgh.

“I am pleased that through this investigation, we were able to uncover the alleged fraudulent activity and donate the recovered wheelchairs to the Commission on Aging in Gaylord,” said Ogemaw County Sheriff Brian Gilbert Sr.

Hardenburgh’s jail sentence came as a result of the backhoe theft, in which he was charged with receiving or concealing stolen property in excess of $20,000. An Ogemaw County judge ordered him to repay over $746,000 to Hastings Mutual Insurance and $28,000 to Hanover Insurance Group as part of a plea agreement in the theft case.

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