The California Department of Insurance Fraud Division announced Wednesday that three United States Marines based out of 29 Palms have entered pleas of not guilty to felony charges of insurance fraud and a misdemeanor count of filing a false police report.
James Joseph Quiroga, 22, was charged with two counts of automobile insurance fraud and filing a false police report. Nicholas Vega Jr. and Shawn Paul Burrel, both 21, were both charged with one count of automobile insurance fraud and one count of filing a false police report. All three defendants voluntarily surrendered themselves to the Joshua Tree District Superior Court.
The California Department of Insurance Fraud Division’s Inland Empire Urban Auto Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Auto Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.
According to investigators, the charges are based upon incidents that happened in October and November of 2004. First, an automobile insurance claim was submitted to Progressive Insurance for an auto collision that occurred before the policy was acquired.
Additionally, subsequent attempts were made claiming that the vehicle had been stolen and vandalized, when in fact the defendants had allegedly concealed and damaged the car themselves. Although no money was paid by Progressive, its exposure to losses could have been approximately $20,000.
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