Major Auto Fraud Ring Exposed

March 6, 2008

Los Angeles: Today the Los Angeles Police Department working in partnership with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, National Insurance Crime Bureau, and insurance company investigators served arrest warrants on members of an insurance fraud ring.

Earlier this morning, 42 felony arrest warrants were served in conjunction with an insurance ring involving fabricated automobile accidents and related fraudulent physical injuries. The felony arrests included two attorneys and one disbarred attorney, a chiropractor, and a proprietor of an auto body shop. Thirty-six additional suspects were identified as participants to an elaborate fraud scheme imposed against ten separate insurance companies.

NOTE: As of late this afternoon, 22 arrests were made, with 20 outstanding.

Senior Investigator Anne Luce, Bristol West Insurance Group, initially presented the case to the Los Angeles Police Department, Auto Fraud Unit, whose collaborate efforts covered 18 months of investigation and review of 18,000 insurance claim documents.

With support of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the DA filed 74 charges, including 33 counts of Insurance Fraud, 2 counts of Identity Theft, 18 counts of Perjury, and 21 counts of a form of insurance fraud committed by the attorneys, for a total of 42 named suspects.

The criminal activity of the suspects centered on an established auto body shop located near the 3000 block of West 48th Street, Los Angeles. The inner-ring of suspects are family members and have previous criminal convictions connected to insurance fraud, and other felony crimes. The insurance fraud scheme was perpetrated through false application and report of collision information and by fabricating and/or falsifying physical injuries. In some cases, the suspects used previously damaged and/or wrecked cars in conjunction with a host of recruited “willing” participants using fictitious identities in order to report false claims of damage and physical injury. To expedite the receipt of false monies paid out by each insurance company, several attorneys and a chiropractor were instrumental in falsifying medical records and legal documents.

Although this investigation focused on only the most recent, provable fraudulent claims, it appears the core group of suspects has been falsifying claims since the mid-1990’s. The suspected family patriarch served prison time from 1989 to 1994 for the same criminal offenses.