Eight suspects have been arrested in connection with an auto fraud ring case in San Diego, the California Department of Insurance has reported. The individuals arrested under “Operation Hit and Run” are suspected of faking traffic collisions and filing fraudulent personal injury claims with insurance companies. Since October 2009, 11 suspects were arrested in connection with this fraud ring.
On April 21, the San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force arrested eight suspects. The arrests relate to a series of staged accidents where suspects faked traffic collisions, were transported to a local hospital for treatment and filed personal injury claims with the insurer. Based on arrest warrants obtained on Oct. 29, 2009, the San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force arrested a total of 11 defendants in relation to this investigation and charged 83 felony counts.
The arrests are tied to five separate staged traffic collisions. The collisions all have a similar fact pattern of a vehicle being struck by an abandoned vehicle that was previously reported stolen, CDI said. The suspects to be arrested are all connected by family relationships, police contacts, and connections to the primary suspect in this case, Jay Stoney Anderson.
In all five traffic collisions, there were identical motives and facts of loss. The collisions were allegedly staged and police were called to the scene. When the police arrived, the vehicle at fault was always determined to be abandoned at the scene and had previously been reported stolen by the registered owner. In each case, the suspects claimed to be injured and were transported via ambulance to a local emergency room for treatment. The suspects each filed personal injury claims with the insurer and failed to reimburse the hospital for the outstanding bill. The total loss in this case exceeds $200,000.
CDI launched an investigation when Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. and Progressive Insurance Co. notified the Department of possible fraud. The Special Investigation Units of these companies met with representatives of the San Diego Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force to share information. The information provided later identified a criminal ring suspected of staging more than eleven collisions over a one-year period. Additional information in support of this investigation was provided by Special Investigation Units from Republic Western Insurance Co., AIG, 21st Century Insurance Co., GEICO Insurance, and Nationwide Mutual Insurance.
The comprehensive investigation revealed multiple alleged connections between the suspects and Jay Stoney Anderson and the abandoned vehicles. In two of the collisions charged, the suspects allegedly used a rented U-Haul that was later reported stolen and used to stage the traffic collisions.
Suspects arrested on April 21 include: Frank Torbert III ; George Thomas; Jiaire Martin; Michael Jones; Rodney Martin; Tamar Bradley; Wade Bradley; and Shareese Spence.
The San Diego District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case. All suspects are expected to be arraigned in San Diego Superior Court.
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