Mark Goldsmith, Westerville Ohio Psychiatrist, accused of turning crash landing into an insurance swindle

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Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
DEPUTIES SAY EQUIPMENT THEFT FAKED; WESTERVILLE PSYCHIATRIST ACCUSED IN CRASH SWINDLE
By Don Baird
March 5, 1998

Psychiatrist Mark Goldsmith

Psychiatrist Mark Goldsmith

A Westerville psychiatrist is accused of turning a 1996 crash landing at the Madison County airport into an insurance swindle by saying thieves broke into his damaged aircraft there.

Dr. Mark E. Goldsmith, 53, faked the theft of thousands of dollars worth of avionics equipment along with lists of the serial numbers that could have helped trace the items, said Lt. Jim Sabin of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators uncovered the possible swindle when they found some of the equipment in November at Port Columbus Airport’s Lane Aviation, where Goldsmith had offered it for sale to his fellow pilots, Sabin said.

As part of an investigation lasting several months, Sabin learned from the National Insurance Crime Bureau at Chicago that Goldsmith has made 14 insurance claims since 1990 against a variety of insurance carriers at a variety of locations across the country. Sabin described the number of claims as unusual and said they involved losses due to auto theft, auto accidents, fires and other mishaps.

The psychiatrist, who maintains a home and office at 262 Chinkapin Way in Westerville, will be arraigned here Friday on a single felony count of insurance fraud.

Sabin served the psychiatrist’s Columbus attorney, Jon Browning, with a summons at 11:15 a.m. yesterday, ordering Goldsmith to appear before Judge Robert D. Nichols in Madison County Common Pleas Court.

”This is all a misunderstanding,” Browning said later. ”Dr. Goldsmith is anxious to put it behind him and get on with his practice.

”He’s devoted his career to helping children in Franklin County who suffer from physical abuse and substance abuse problems,” Browning said. ”He’s devoted his career to helping others.”

A grand jury here issued a secret indictment against Goldsmith on Feb. 11.

His $ 120,000 Cessna 182, a single-engine, propeller-driven aircraft, has been seized by the sheriff’s department and could be subject to forfeiture under Ohio law because Sabin said it was used during commission of the crime.

The investigation of Goldsmith’s activities is continuing, Sabin said. He added that he considers the circumstances surrounding GoldSmith’s crash landing near here ”intriguing.”

Goldsmith landed the aircraft on its belly at Madison County airport in September 1996, damaging its propeller, engine and fuselage. Goldsmith said he forgot to lower his landing gear, Sabin said.
At the time, Goldsmith’s plane was due for an expensive engine overhaul that normally would have included replacement of the aircraft’s propeller, he said.

Because of the crash landing, American Eagle Insurance based in Dallas paid $28,079.28 for overhaul of the damaged engine and replacement of the broken prop, in addition to the repair of damage to the plane’s metal skin.

No charges have been filed in connection with that incident.

While Goldsmith’s plane was at Madison County airport awaiting repair, it became one of nine aircraft hit by thieves in October 1996, Sabin said. “Most of the thefts were minor,” he said.

Goldsmith was the only crime victim making a report of major losses, Sabin said.

“I’m not ruling out the possibility that Mr. Goldsmith was the victim of a theft offense,” Sabin said.

“But I do not believe that the theft offense was anywhere near the order of magnitude reported by Mr. Goldsmith.”

American Eagle paid Goldsmith $ 61,340 to settle his claim for a $ 13,000 automatic pilot system, $ 12,000 radar scope, $ 7,500 global positioning system, radios, headsets and other expensive avionics equipment reported stolen from the cockpit of his plane, Sabin said.

Logbooks and operations manuals Goldsmith reported missing would have been valuable to investigators because the books contained serial numbers of the stolen equipment, Sabin said.

The aircraft records, along with still more of the missing equipment, eventually were found inside Gold-
smith’s plane at Lane Aviation in November. A total of about $ 40,000 worth of equipment that had been reported stolen was recovered at Port Columbus, Sabin said.