Three On Your Side Investigates: Confessions of a Katrina Whistleblower - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 01/31/08

Three On Your Side Investigates: Confessions of a Katrina Whistleblower

By Marsha Thompson
marsha@wlbt.net

We have new developments in the ongoing saga surrounding Hurricane Katrina litigation. The latest revolves around the deposition of an insurance insider-turned-whistleblower. She is one of two sisters trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs used to prove State Farm short changed policyholders.

The deposition of Kerri Rigsby was taken in the suit styled Thomas C. And Pamela McIntosh versus State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, et al., in southern district court reveals "on- the- record" admissions of sex, lies and theft.  

In an exclusive interview in March of 2006, Scruggs explained his potentially explosive insider information. He said whistleblowers were ready to take down State Farm Insurance Company. He indicated the two sisters claimed they could prove State Farm falsified engineering documents, as Scruggs had claimed. A mammoth battle was shaping up. Wind versus water. Hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.

State Farm policies did not cover the storm's killer tidal surge. We obtained a sworn deposition of Kerri Rigsby taken November 27, 2007, at Scruggs' law office in Moss Point. The lawyer was the lead attorney in the Scruggs Katrina Group. One portion alludes to the whistleblower testifying before a grand jury admitting she and her sister, Cori Rigsby Moran, dumped reams of classified policy claims from their State Farm laptops March 2006. Stealing documents without State Farm's knowledge or permission...and then furnished copies to the Attorney General, U.S. Attorney and Scruggs without permission.

Renfroe Engineering surveys were allegedly altered by State Farm to deny policy holders' claims. During the deposition Rigsby said she would do it again because of her loyalty to policy holders. Rigsby admits to having affairs with co-workers -- one who passed on an engineering report in the wind file with "Do Not Pay" and "Do Not Discuss" on it. She found a duplicate report that had allegedly been altered to form a different conclusion in the deposition.

The whistleblower outlines a pattern of deception, admitting she lied at every mediation meeting with policy holders who lost their homes, saying the outcome of the mediation was predetermined.

She admits stealing documents from State Farm. She admits she was on Scruggs' payroll, receiving $150,000 yearly as a consultant, with a $10,000 monthly retainer. Her legal expenses were covered as well.

Attorney General Jim Hood says Scruggs is a confidential informant in his ongoing investigations, and view State Farm as potential co-conspirators.

State Farm has alleged that Scruggs was part of the "extortion conspiracy." Experts say it will take years for the coast to rise from the ruin of Katrina, it's likely civil and criminal litigation could run the same course.

Scruggs was charged with criminal contempt by prosecutors appointed by Alabama U.S. District Judge William Acker. He ordered the return of the stolen State Farm documents. Scruggs is also charged with attempting to bribe a Circuit Court Judge.

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