Calif. Couple, Brothers Nabbed for Felony Auto Fraud Scam

November 4, 2005

A husband, his wife, and another man have been arrested on felony auto insurance fraud charges following a California Department of Insurance Fraud Division (CDI) investigation into the alleged theft of the couple’s automobile. A fourth suspect entered a guilty plea to related charges earlier this year.

Jose Paiz Uribe, 52, and his wife, Catherine Uribe, 45, both of Madera, were arrested on Wednesday after surrendering at the Madera County Sheriff’s Jail. Both were charged with two counts of felony insurance auto fraud. Leonel Cuevas, 60, was arrested on the same charges Tuesday at his Madera residence. His brother, Alfonso Cuevas, was sentenced to five years probation and 210 days in custody after pleading guilty June 23 to felony insurance fraud in the case.

CDI investigators, assisted by the Madera County District Attorney’s Office, unraveled much of the case after Alfonso Cuevas was arrested on separate drug charges June 23. During the arrest authorities asked Cuevas about a burned vehicle that the California Highway Patrol recovered earlier that day. Cuevas reportedly admitted to staging the automobile theft and burning of the 1998 Ford Expedition.

Cuevas also reportedly told authorities that the Uribes owned the vehicle, and detailed their alleged involvement and an alleged scheme to fraudulently collect insurance money.

CDI Investigators, as a result of Cuevas’ admissions, were able to arrest Jose and Catherine Uribe, as well as Leonel Cuevas.

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