People who commit automobile insurance fraud just never learn their lessons. One problem that has emerged with the bad economy, is that crime rings
Contra Costa County is where the insurance fraud allegedly occurred. There were 20 defendants in all who prosecutors charged with tens of felonies in regard to automobile insurance fraud. Most of these individuals pled guilty. In this instance, the defendants will most likely get a lesser sentence for pleading guilty then having the matter proceed any further and going to trial.
The investigation into the crime ring started three years ago. There had been a pattern of staging accidents and then scamming automobile insurance companies from 2002 to 2012. The investigation involved many different agencies that worked very hard to coordinate the effort so that they could finally disband the crime ring and stop the insurance fraud from continuing any longer. In total, there were 289 counts against all 21 men and women. The charges ranged from insurance fraud to burglary. This crime ring had been allegedly operating in and around the county for years and posed a huge threat to its economy.
The man who is the alleged head of the crime ring is named Kelechi Chukwueke . He appeared in court on Tuesday and pled guilty to 12 of the 61 counts that he had been charged with. The crime ring that he was allegedly running ran under the radar for a long time.
It is important for task forces to be put together any time that there is an issue with criminal activity such as this. It can be hard to prove that auto insurance fraud. In many of the instances of staged automobile accidents, the criminal forces the other driver to stop suddenly and cause an accident to take place. This makes the other driver at fault. The criminal can do this over and over again by using different aliases and vehicles which is why it takes so long to build a thorough investigation into this type of criminal activity.
The agencies had to work together in order to gather enough evidence against each of the defendants. When you have such a large case involving hundreds of felony counts and defendants, you need to make sure that you have made sure that you have covered all of your bases.
The police carried out a warrant search in December of 2011 and found out that the alleged ring leader and two of his associates were threatening other people to become involved in alleged insurance fraud schemes. Many crime rings end up needing to recruit new members because they do not want to raise suspicion by having the same individuals stage automobile accidents over and over again.
One of the auto insurance companies that two men allegedly scammed lost over a half of a million dollars due to their fraudulent insurance claims. The two defendants were able to avoid going to jail because they settled their court cases civilly.
It stands to reason how many more crime rings there might be in the county. Hopefully, the fact that so many people worked so hard and put in so many hours to bust up the crime ring will send a message to others. These 21 defendants will most likely have to serve some time behind bars in the near future. The sad fact of the matter is though that you can get rid of 21 criminals but 22 more are ready to take their place. It is hard for criminals to think about their big picture and how their actions impact others.
Car insurance fraud is one of those crimes that many criminals justify after they have been caught by saying that the only victims were the auto insurance companies that were scammed. This is not true at all though. Both policy holders and their insurance companies end up paying the price. In this case, both and the tax payers had to foot the bill for the years of auto insurance fraud that had taken place.
It took a lot of financial resources to break up this insurance fraud ring and that money comes from tax dollars. Many states such as Florida are spending millions of dollars each year just to try to fight the fraud that is taking place.
The Insurance Commission does have numbers that drivers can call if they suspect that someone is committing insurance fraud. In order to save as much money as possible, states need to provide more incentives to individuals who report this type of crime to the proper authorities so that crime rings can be broken up as soon as possible.
Insurance claims adjusters need to be more on the ball when they review insurance claims. Many cases of fraud slip through the cracks and end up costing automobile insurance companies and their policy holders billions of dollars.