Texas Woman Pleads Guilty to Staging Auto Crashes

August 19, 2014

A 32-year-old Port Arthur, Texas, woman has pleaded guilty in a case involving staged auto crashes and fraudulent insurance claims, according to U.S. Attorney John M. Bales for the Eastern District of Texas.

Shawnta Rene Bell Jones pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith F. Giblin.

According to information presented in court, from November 2006 to August 2013, Jones was involved in a conspiracy with others to defraud insurance providers and other businesses by staging automobile collisions and then submitting claims for property damage and personal injury by U.S. mail and other carriers.

On Mar. 4, 2012, Jones and others staged an automobile accident in Port Arthur and then submitted fraudulent insurance claims to Farmers Insurance and Old American Mutual Insurance Co. As a result of the fraudulent claim, payment was made by U.S. mail to defendants. Jones’ received less than $5,000 for her part in the conspiracy.

On June 4, 2014, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Jones and Port Arthur residents James Lee Jones, Sr., 46; Charles Christopher Mosley, 34; Martin James Eaglin, 39; Edmund Hurts III, 27; and Kristopher Bernard, 28, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 17 counts of mail fraud.

At sentencing, Jones faces up to 20 years in federal prison. No date for sentencing has been set.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Port Arthur Police Department, National Insurance Crime Bureau and Farmers Insurance Investigations. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Cockrell.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

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