September 20, 2014

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Couple ate glass to collect cash from restaurants, prosecutors say

 

BOSTON (AP) — A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to his role in a multistate scheme in which prosecutors say he and his wife intentionally ate glass at restaurants and collected more than $200,000 in compensation.

Ronald Evano, 49, pleaded guilty to 20 federal counts, including conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and identity theft. Prosecutors dropped four counts of identity fraud and health care fraud in the plea agreement.

Prosecutors say Evano and his wife, Mary, filed fraudulent insurance claims worth more than $200,000, collected more than $200,000 and left a trail of unpaid medical bills totaling more than $100,000 in several states between 1997 and 2005.

Prosecutors said the two were treated at hospitals for glass ingestions at least a dozen times. They collected payments from insurance companies but never paid their hospital bills. In once instance, they took a $45,000 payment directly from a restaurant.

An arrest warrant was issued last year for Mary Evano on the same charges as her husband. She is still being sought.

Evano said in court that he and his wife ate the glass because they needed money.

“We would go to a restaurant, and I’d say I had glass in my food,” Evano said. “Then I would go to the hospital and say I was in pain.”

Over the years, one or both claimed to have eaten glass at establishments in Braintree and Quincy, Mass.; Bethesda and Gaithersburg, Md.; Washington D.C.; Providence, R.I.; and Midlothian, Va. The couple used false names, Social Security numbers and identity cards.

Evano is in custody and is to be sentenced next month. He could receive up to 100 years in prison.