Retired MLB pitcher Ted Lilly charged with 3 counts felony insurance fraud

Update: February 6, 2015:  Ted Lilly avoids prison sentence

Retired MLB pitcher Ted Lilly has narrowly avoided  any jail or prison time, stemming from insurance fraud charges against him. He could have gotten five years in a state penitentiary.

In January he was charged with three counts of felony insurance fraud, regarding claims made on his R.V.

Thursday, Lilly did not appear in court but his lawyer entered a plea of “no contest” to one count misdemeanor insurance fraud. 

Lilly will have to be on two years of informal probation, pay a fine of $2,500 and do 250 hours of community service, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

In exchange for his plea of no-contest which is basically an admission of guilt, prosecutors dropped the first charge down to a misdemeanor and dropped the other two felony charges against Lilly. 

Lilly’s lawyer, James Murphy, read a statement from Lilly after the hearing,

“I would like to apologize for the terrible error in judgment which has led to the present situation,” Lilly’s statement read. “My actions do not reflect the way I choose to live. I am very much determined to earn back a reputation of trust and transparency.”

He should have added, “and avoid the moniker of being that pitcher who went to prison for five years,” but who’s counting.

Original Text: January 24, 2015: 

Former pitcher Ted Lilly has been charged with three counts of felony insurance fraud in San Luis Obispo County, California.

The story was first reported by Lilly was arrested, charged and pleaded not guilty on all counts on Tuesday.

The charges all involve vehicle insurance fraud dating back to March of 2014. Assistant District Attorney of San Luis Obispo County Lee Cunningham explained the charges to KSBY on Saturday,

“I can tell you that he’s charged with three different felony counts. The first is filing a false insurance claim. The second one is a false statement in support of a claim and the third one has to do with failing to disclose a material fact in connection with an insurance claim.”

Apparently, Lilly bought an RV worth approximately $200,000 last year, purchased insurance and filed a claim after damaging the vehicle. It seems simple and innocent enough until what the dates and order he did this in don’t add up.

Nick Wilson of the San Luis Obispo Tribune had more specific information on what Lilly is accused of doing via Department of Insurance spokesperson Nancy Kincaid.

“The (California Department of Insurance)’s investigation showed Lilly sustained damage in a collision while backing up the vehicle and sought an estimate from a body shop on March 19. The estimate was $4,600. Then Lilly bought insurance from Progressive on March 24 and claimed the damage on March 28.”

Kincaid went on to explain to Wilson,

“What a lot of people may not realize is that body shops often enter estimates into a database that insurance companies can check to verify claims. They can see what the damage was and whether a false claim may have been filed.”

He was arrested as part of an agency sting that targeted the uninsured, under-insured and, in Lilly’s case, those that bought insurance after damage to the vehicle had already occured.

It appears Lily does, in fact, belong in the third category. He bought the Progressive Insurance approximately a week after the incident with his RV and getting the estimate from the body shop. Which also means he was uninsured at the time of the incident, putting him in the first category as well.

Ted  Lilly. Getty Images.
Ted Lilly. Getty Images.

The 39-year-old spent 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, beginning his career with the Montreal Expos and spending the majority of it with the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. Lilly also spent time with the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics.

Lilly, who retired after the 2013 season, was 130-113 with a 4.14 ERA in his career. A two-time All-Star (2004 with Toronto and 2009 with Chicago), Lilly’s best season came in 2009 with the Cubs. Lilly finished 2009 having gone 12-10 with a 3.10 ERA.

If convicted of the charges Lilly faces up to five years in prison.

*On a personal note, this seems crazy! He was a really nice guy who I met on multiple occasions, while he was with the A’s and I was an intern for KICU, during the 2003 season.


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