Fraud News Around the Nation

January 31, 2017
New Jersey Man Gets Prison Term for Role in High-end Vehicle Theft Ring

A man involved in a ring that carjacked or stole high-end vehicles and sold them overseas is now headed to prison.

Donell Carroll received a 10-year sentence Friday. The 29-year-old East Orange man had pleaded guilty last month to racketeering.

Authorities recovered 90 stolen vehicles through the investigation, including nearly two dozen found at regional seaports. The vehicles – worth more than $4 million – were taken from an area stretching from Rockland County, New York to central New Jersey.

The ring sought out expensive vehicles. Some were stolen through carjackings, while others were taken from locations where the thieves could steal them with the vehicle’s electronic keys or key fobs, which authorities say are critical to the cars’ resale value.

The vehicles eventually were shipped to west Africa.

Northern California Woman Convicted of Auto Insurance Fraud

On January 25, 2017, a West Sacramento, Calif., woman named Tiffany Beckingham pled no contest to felony charges of filing a fraudulent auto insurance claim, according to an annoucement by District Attorney Jeff Reisig.

Beckingham’s car was involved in a collision on October 11, 2015, in West Sacramento. At that time Beckingham did not have auto insurance coverage for her car. The car’s OnStar safety service called the West Sacramento Police Department. Officers found her car abandoned and later impounded it. After a 91 day lapse in insurance coverage, Beckingham’s insurance policy was reissued on October 23, 2015. Three days later on October 26, 2015, Beckingham phoned Geico Insurance and filed a claim stating that she was involved in a collision where she struck an animal and hit the curb line of a roundabout causing significant damage to the front left of her car in Fairfield, Calif. Beckingham’s time line of events were inconsistent with all other facts in the case.

Beckingham later admitted to Yolo County District Attorney Investigator Kristine Fitzgerald that the damage to the car occurred in West Sacramento on October 11, 2015. Beckingham also admitted to filing the claim with Geico Insurance after having her insurance policy reissued and stating that all of the damage to the car occurred in Fairfield, when in fact the damage occurred in West Sacramento.

Rhode Island Restaurant Owner Convicted of Federal Arson, Insurance Fraud

A federal court jury in Providence on Friday convicted Daniel E. Saad, of Spencer, Mass., of devising and executing a scheme to burn down his Glocester, R.I., restaurant, Snow’s Clam Box Restaurant and Pub, and then attempting to collect on an insurance policy worth nearly one million dollars.

The jury convicted Saad on one count of arson, one count of use of fire to commit wire fraud, and two counts of wire fraud. The jury found that Saad set fire to his business shortly after 5:00 a.m. on November 30, 2014, and then initiated insurance claims via email later the same day and on the following day.

According to the government’s evidence presented during a three-week trial, Saad, who owed banks, private lenders and venders nearly $2.5 million dollars, entered the building through an unlocked rear door, spread gasoline in and around a bar area and ignited the gasoline before fleeing the building. A woman who was residing in an apartment above the restaurant reported the fire after fleeing from the building.

Saad’s conviction is announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Mickey Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of ATF; Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; Rhode Island State Fire Marshal John Chartier; and Glocester Police Chief Joseph S. DelPrete.

“Acts of arson pose a tremendous public safety threat, to the public generally and to first responders. This case is no exception. That this defendant would deliberately burn a building he owned to the ground, with his tenant living in the building and present at the time, demonstrates his utter disregard for the safety of others. He now faces at least a decade in federal prison for this behavior. Every day is well-deserved,” said United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

According to the government’s evidence, during interviews with law enforcement, Saad on two occasions told investigators he was at his home in Massachusetts when the fire occurred. During a subsequent interview he told investigators that he was at his estranged wife’s home in Webster, Mass. On two occasions during interviews with state and federal investigators, Saad’s wife corroborated Saad’s account. However, after being summoned to appear before a federal grand jury and again when testifying during Daniel Saad’s trial, she changed her story and admitted that Daniel Saad had asked her to provide an alibi for him for the night of the fire. She testified that he was not with her that night.

Cellular data collected and analyzed by law enforcement placed Saad’s cellphone in very close proximity to his restaurant at the time the fire began.

Saad, who had been free on unsecured bond since his arrest on March 31, 2016, was ordered detained in federal custody following the return of the jury’s guilty verdicts. Saad is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27, 2017, by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., who presided over the trial.

Arson and wire fraud are punishable by statutory penalties of up to 20 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years; use of fire to commit wire fraud is punishable by statutory minimum mandatory penalty of 10 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years.

The matter was investigated by ATF, Glocester Police Department, Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office and Rhode Island State Police.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha acknowledges and thanks the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General and the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team for their assistance in the investigation of this matter.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.

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