The California Department of Insurance announced that Matthew A. Riddle Sr. of Stockton; his mother, Lydia Riddle of Stockton; and John D. Vier of Sacramento were arrested in connection with insurance fraud and vehicle arson.
According to CDI, on Aug. 24, 2008, Matthew Riddle filed a vehicle loss claim with his insurance carrier for the alleged theft of his vehicle. Both Matthew Riddle and his mother made statements to the insurer and law enforcement that his 1998 Ford Expedition was stolen from his residence in Stockton sometime while he and his mother were having lunch in Old Sacramento.
On Aug. 25, 2008, a witness contacted the Sacramento County Urban Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force with information regarding a possible staged vehicle theft and arson of a 1998 Ford Expedition, allegedly involving Matthew Riddle and Vier.
Matthew Riddle and his mother were arrested at their residence in Stockton on May 2, and booked into the San Joaquin County Jail. Matthew Riddle was charged with two felony counts of insurance fraud, one felony count of conspiracy, one felony count of arson of property and one count of falsely reporting a crime. Lydia Riddle was charged with one felony count of insurance fraud and one felony count of conspiracy. John Vier was charged with felony arson of property and one felony count of conspiracy. All three individuals could face up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines, CDI said.
After a thorough investigation, the Auto Fraud Task Force discovered that Matthew Riddle allegedly conspired with Vier to get rid of Matthew Riddle’s 1998 Ford Expedition by having Veir take the vehicle to an orchard in Linden where it was burned. Investigators also discovered that Matthew Riddle and his mother allegedly made false statements as to their whereabouts on the day of the alleged theft. The insurance company ultimately denied Matthew Riddle’s vehicle loss claim, but had the company approved the claim, they would have paid approximately $10,000 for the loss of the vehicle.
This case is being prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
The Sacramento County Urban Auto Fraud Task Force is comprised of investigators from the California Department of Insurance, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the California Highway Patrol. The Auto Task Force, which has been in operation since 2001, targets any form of organized auto insurance fraud, including staged theft and vandalism rings, staged auto accident rings and other types of organized insurance fraud.