In cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department, the National Insurance Crime Bureau has produced new high definition videos showing some of the most common methods of staging motor vehicle accidents to defraud insurance companies.
“Staged or deliberately caused accidents continue to be a problem across the country,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the LAPD to make the public aware of these schemes and to let them know what to look for.”
Staged accidents are usually conducted by organized groups that target drivers and vehicles that are likely to be insured. The organizers frequently recruit participants who receive a cash payment to join in the scheme and to claim they were injured in the crash. The organizers then have the medical providers who are in on the scheme bill the auto insurance companies for medical treatments that may be unnecessary and which may or may not be completed.
“These staged accidents are not only illegal and costly, but they also present a real danger to innocent drivers and to those recruited to participate,” said Wehrle. “And without knowing what to look for, the innocent victims may not realize they were targeted. These videos help insurers, law enforcement and the driving public spot some of the most common types of staged accidents and may help them put a stop to the scheme before the criminals collect the cash.”
Los Angeles Police says they are seeing an increase in staged accidents on area freeways, where high speeds can have dangerous consequences. They are also seeing cases of people deliberately causing an accident in a car, on a bike or on foot. According to Detective Gary Guevara of the LAPD Commercial Crimes Division, they are extorting money from the targeted driver by demanding cash that they have on them, or forcing them to drive to a bank or ATM to withdraw cash to pay them.
“Los Angeles is not a good place to commit this kind of fraud,” Guevara said. “We have a dedicated police unit and a section of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office that specializes in prosecuting this kind of fraud and they take it very seriously.”
The videos were produced at the LAPD’s Emergency Vehicle Operations Center in Granada Hills, where officers receive specialized driver training.
The following videos illustrate four staged accident scenarios and are available on the NICB website for review:
- Curb Drive Down
- Four Vehicles Fraud
- Swoop and Squat
- Left Lane Fraud
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