Can you get two bids from a subcontractor on an insurance repair job, pay the lower of the two, and submit the higher invoice to the insurance company for reimbursement? Only if you want to serve a three-year jail term, reports the Denver Post (“Judge in Denver gives contractor 3 years for bilking insurers,” by Tom McGhee).

“A jury found Charles Homer Sharp, 52, and Michael Arthur Griggs, guilty of conspiracy and multiple counts of mail fraud last August,” reports the paper. “Sharp was the chief operating officer of Disaster Restoration, Inc., and Griggs was the owner.”

Three other defendants in the case pled guilty and received probation as a punishment, rather than imprisonment, the paper reports. But Sharp went to trial. Said Judge Marcia Krieger, "His defense was that his conduct was not illegal .... I have not heard from Mr. Sharp at any point in this case that his conduct was illegal." But Krieger said, “What DRI was doing in the minds of the jury wasn't a business practice. It was fraud. It was making a false statement to someone with the intention that someone would rely on it."