Three individuals have been arrested in California for allegedly being involved in a five-person conspiracy that resulted in a vehicle owned by one of the conspirators driven to Mexico where it was “chopped” (i.e., taken apart so that its parts can be used or sold separately), according to the California Department of Insurance.
On March 25, 2008, Ninfa Patricia Ramos-Ortiz, 44, of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., was arrested on three felony insurance fraud charges. On March 26, 2008, Ana Laura Salgado-Antunez (aka Ana Laura Salgado or Ana Laura Antunez), 26, of Santa Ana was arrested on five felony insurance fraud charges. And on March 27, 2008, Ramos-Ortiz’s son, Julio Edder Ramos-Alarcon (aka Julio Ramos Alarcon, Julio Edder Ramos, or Julio Edder Alarcon), 25, also of Hawaiian Gardens was arrested on six felony insurance fraud charges.
Each felony insurance fraud charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.
Arrest warrants for multiple insurance fraud felonies are still outstanding for Diana Maldonado Cruz, 38, of Tijuana, Mexico, and Juan Diego Cartagena-Alarcon, 31, also of Tijuana. The suspects are known to be husband and wife. The DOI is seeking the public’s assistance in locating these persons.
According to a statement by the California Insurance Commissioner’s Office, allegedly, Salgado-Antunez last saw her 2006 Nissan Armada on July 19, 2007, when she parked it at Ramos-Ortiz’s residence. Salgado-Antunez stated that she and Ramos-Alarcon discovered the vehicle was missing the next morning. Salgado-Antunez subsequently contacted the local police department and filed a theft report. She also reported the vehicle stolen to her insurer, Mercury Insurance Co.
During the claims handling process, Mercury learned that Salgado-Antunez and Ramos-Alarcon allegedly paid a couple of his friends to take the vehicle to Mexico on July 16, 2007, three days before the reported theft. Mercury subsequently referred the case to the CDI Fraud Division.
CDI said the criminal investigation conducted by CDI and the California Highway Patrol further revealed that Salgado-Antunez, the primary driver, was behind on her payments and the vehicle was not running properly. She and Ramos-Alarcon believed that they could no longer afford to keep the vehicle, so they paid an individual a sum of money to drive it to Mexico to dispose of it. This individual did so accompanied by Cruz and several other people. Once in Mexico, the vehicle was turned over to Cruz, who then delivered the vehicle to her partner, Cartagena-Alarcon, to be “chopped.” Salgado-Antunez, Ramos-Alarcon, and Ramos-Ortiz all falsely reported seeing the vehicle in Ramos-Ortiz’s driveway on a date when, in fact, the vehicle was already in Mexico.
Although no money was paid on the claim because Mercury learned of the alleged conspiracy, the potential loss was in excess of $27,000, CDI said.
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