Fraud News Around the Nation

July 15, 2016
Connecticut Man Admits to Role in Staging Car Crashes

A Connecticut man who authorities say conspired to stage about 50 car crashes in an insurance scheme has pleaded guilty to a federal charge.

Carlins Calixte of Norwich entered the plea Thursday in New Haven to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced Sept. 30.

Federal authorities say 32-year-old Calixte and others conspired to stage car crashes in Connecticut to fraudulently collect insurance money between 2011 and 2014. Many of the crashes were single-car incidents on remote roads with no witnesses other than the occupants of the crashed vehicle.

Authorities say the defendants filed fraudulent property damage and injury claims with different car insurance companies. They then collected payouts ranging from about $10,000 to $30,000 per incident.

GEICO Files RICO lawsuit in Florida

Last month, GEICO filed a lawsuit in Florida aimed at five companies and six individuals suspected of submitting fraudulent glass repair bills. The company wants to recover damages under both the Florida Consumer Protection Statues and the Civil RICO statutes. The insurer says the Florida action is also a preview of future lawsuits in other states across the country.

GEICO alleges that its customers’ information was taken or used without their knowledge or consent in order to create invoices for non-existent repairs which were then submitted to GEICO. In addition to billing for services not provided, the suit alleges that GEICO was billed for services that had no repair value and were unnecessary.

“We’d like to see legislative reform in this area,” said Ryan West, GEICO’s vice president of claims. “It’s overdue. These incidents of fraud hurt consumers because they cause premiums to increase.” West went on to say that GEICO has a long history of seeking out individuals willing to commit fraud. GEICO intends to file future lawsuits to continue making every effort to protect its customers and the public from fraudulent glass repair operators.

GEICO filed its case – Government Employees Insurance Company, et al. v. Jason Fry, et. al. – in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida. GEICO also seeks a declaration that any pending claims are not owed.

New Mobile App Eases Access to Insurance Fraud Information

Regularly updated fraud news and trend information are accessible for the first time to smartphone and iPad users through a new mobile app from the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

The new app FraudWire allows convenient viewing of regularly updated Coalition information that’s in high demand within the anti-fraud community.

Available are daily and weekly fraud news, including weekly blogs, podcasts, videos and trend articles by noted experts, as well as other fresh insurance fraud information.

FraudWire is available in the Apple store for iPhone and iPad users, and from Google Play for Android users.

Users can navigate the Coalition app by information category, tag and a search tab. Real-time notifications of late-breaking fraud news are also available.

Florida Woman Sentenced to 4 Years in BP Oil Spill Fraud Case

A Florida woman has been sentenced to four years in prison after filing a false claim in connection with the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Tuesday that 50-year-old Caridad Rioseco Alejandrez has been sentenced to 48 months in prison. She previously pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.

Her father was sentenced to a year in prison in connection with a similar case. Authorities say both filed fraudulent claims against a fund created to reimburse people for costs and damages incurred after the BP well blowout.

The blowout killed 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and leaked millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf over 87 days in the nation’s worst offshore spill.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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