Fugitive Arrested in $500,000 Auto Fraud Scam

August 28, 2007

A Sherman Oaks, Calif., man has been arrested for insurance fraud, grand theft, identity theft, and federal charges, the California Department of Insurance reported. Moshe “Sanny” Assoulin, 35, was arrested in Israel on Aug. 19, 2007 by Israeli National Police. Assoulin is an Israeli national who grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley.

A warrant for Assoulin’s arrest was issued in October 2005, following the results of an investigation by the CDI. The investigation revealed multiple fraudulent automobile insurance claims were allegedly submitted to car rental and insurance companies by Assoulin and co-conspirators. Nine defendants have pleaded guilty to various insurance fraud related charges in connection with this case. In May 2005, Assoulin was awaiting sentencing for federal charges when he became aware of CDI’s insurance fraud investigation. At that point, Assoulin fled to Israel.

The CDI Fraud Division’s 2005 investigation revealed that from 2000 to early 2002 Assoulin participated in a scam in which fraudulent insurance claims were submitted to car rental and insurance companies. Under the alleged scheme, a person would rent a vehicle from a car rental company and return it a day or two later with slight damage. The renter would report that he or she had accidentally struck a parked unoccupied vehicle. Another person would then contact the car rental company as the owner of the parked unoccupied vehicle, and submit a claim for property damages. The same vehicles with the same damages were used repeatedly in multiple claims.

One of the vehicles, a 1997 Mercedes Benz SL600, was used in 10 claims, and various insurance companies paid more than $100,000 in settlements for alleged damages to the vehicle. The potential loss to the various car rental and insurance companies is estimated at nearly $500,000. The National Insurance Crime Bureau, as well as multiple car rental and insurance companies, assisted in the investigation.

The CDI Fraud Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration jointly submitted to Israel a request for the arrest and extradition of Assoulin through the US Department of Justice Office of International Affairs. The request was reviewed by the Israeli Ministry of Justice, and an Israeli arrest warrant was issued. On August 19, 2007, Israeli National Police located and arrested Assoulin. The Los Angeles County District Attorney is prosecuting this case.

Source: CDI

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