Trio Nabbed in Calif. Auto Vandal Scam

February 2, 2006

Two Sacramento residents and one Galt resident have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a “staged auto vandalism” ring, according to the California Insurance Commissioner’s office.

The case involved a suspected scam in which multiple insurance policies were allegedly secured by the three suspects for two automobiles.The group allegedly then filed multiple claims for an incident of vandalism using each of the policies. Brian Keith Talley, 35, and Lillybeth Tirado, 29, both of Sacramento; and Michael George Fischer, 44, of Galt, were charged with one felony count of conspiracy and filing multiple insurance claims for the same loss. Bail was set for each at $10,000.

Talley surrendered at the Sacramento County Main Jail on Tuesday; Tirado surrendered on Monday; and Fischer was arrested at his residence on Jan. 26. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.

Authorities believe that Talley, along with two associates, acquired six separate insurance policies in each of their names on two vehicles – one a 1999 Mercedes-Benz ML 320 SUV, and the other a 2001 Jaguar XJ8. Claims for the same act of vandalism, mostly paint scratches to all vehicle panels, were then filed on each of the different policies. Payments were made on three of those claims totaling over $12,000 before the alleged fraud was discovered. The potential loss to the insurance carriers would have exceeded $30,000 had the alleged fraud gone undiscovered.

The continuing investigation is being conducted by the Sacramento County Urban Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force, which is comprised of investigators with the California Department of Insurance, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol. The auto fraud task force, in operation since January 2001, targets any form of organized auto insurance fraud, including staged theft and vandalism rings, staged accident rings, and med-legal mills.

Various agencies have assisted in the investigation of the three suspects in this case, including the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the special investigative units of Western United Insurance, Farmers Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Allstate Insurance, and Mercury Insurance companies.

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