West Branch Man Sentenced in Alleged Insurance Fraud Case

A West Branch man has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and must pay restitution of nearly $775,000 for an alleged insurance scam.

After an investigation by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Fraud Investigation Unit and the Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Office, Darrell Lee Hardenburgh was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years’ probation for receiving and concealing stolen property in excess of $20,000. As part of the plea, Mr. Hardenburgh was not charged with several additional counts of insurance fraud but was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $746,529.21 to Hastings Mutual Insurance Company and $28,339.60 to The Hanover Insurance Group. He was also ordered to turn over all medical equipment used in the scheme to law enforcement.

Following an auto accident that allegedly left Hardenburgh wheelchair bound, Hardenburgh was accused of fraudulently receiving attendant care and medical equipment provided by his insurance company. Through an investigation by DIFS and the Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Office, it was determined that Hardenburgh could walk.

“The conclusion of this case was a joint effort with the Michigan State Police and the Ogemaw Sheriff’s Office working hand in hand, along with the DIFS Fraud Investigation Unit,” said Ogemaw Sheriff Brian Gilbert in a statement. “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.”