You're in Grabby Hands

Allstate doesn't need much evidence to accuse their own customers of arson and fraud ... and save themselves a few thousand bucks

So we're back to the deposition, back to hypothetical greed. The examiner sure perked up when Tim mentioned recently purchasing a cube amplifier: "Those are a little pricey, aren't they?"

"No," replied Tim, "I bought it at a pawnshop." Came across it, he added pointedly, while he was looking for his stolen equipment.

About that equipment: Surely it's a suspicious amount to leave in a trunk? "It took me a while to figure out how to pack all that crap in there at one time," agreed Tim, who by then had a fierce headache. He mentioned the expensive stuff and then trailed off vaguely; maybe it looked suspicious that he didn't itemize the cables and tools again? His wife says Tim's got four times as much stuff in the basement; he's been an equipment junkie since she met him. In reality, she adds, he often leaves it in the trunk rather than schlepp it back and forth in plain sight of potential thieves. Mary Ryan, who lives across the street, says her son's car was stolen and burned years ago.

Did Allstate really find enough evidence to justify accusing the Meads of arson and fraud? Well, there's one more financial detail their investigation would have revealed: The Meads don't have the liquid savings to hire a lawyer. So, because their case isn't big enough to seduce one to take it on contingency, they'll have to fight it through official channels. Meanwhile, Tim keeps remembering a remark made by an oncologist who plays in a band with him: "Don't take me wrong, but if this happened to me, the claim would be taken care of.

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