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Vehicles taken ‘hostage’ in Inland Empire insurance coverage fraud scheme, authorities say

Vehicles taken ‘hostage’ in Inland Empire insurance coverage fraud scheme, authorities say



More than a dozen individuals are accused of partaking in an elaborate fraud scheme throughout the Inland Empire that entailed making false representations to individuals concerned in collisions to be able to take their autos and maintain them “hostage” till receiving insurance coverage funds, authorities stated Friday, May 10.

Search warrants have been executed Thursday by the Inland Empire Automobile Insurance Task Force, led by investigators from the California Department of Insurance and composed of legislation enforcement officers from a number of companies, concentrating on 12 of 15 defendants.

The process pressure’s monthslong investigation uncovered an alleged fraud ring accountable for $353,035 in losses to auto insurers, based on the DOI.

The alleged ringleader was recognized as 36-year-old Andre Angelo Reyes of Corona, who labored intently with 35-year-old Anthony Gomez of Jurupa Valley, operator of CA Collision, with restore services in San Bernardino County, based on investigators.

Additional cohorts named by the DOI have been from Buena Park, West Covina, Ontario, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Pomona, San Bernardino, Corona and Irvine, authorities stated.

According to the DOI, the ring’s alleged prison acts started in November 2022, when Rosa Isela Santistevan of Irvine, a non-sworn worker of the California Highway Patrol, allegedly started illegally promoting visitors collision face pages to Reyes, who had befriended her whereas making contributions to numerous CHP fundraisers.

Reyes allegedly enlisted the assistance of Esmeralda Parga of Pomona in gleaning the non-public info of individuals listed on greater than 3,500 of the pages, investigators stated.

“Parga would then contact the events concerned within the collisions, pretending to be from their insurance coverage firm, and (she would) coordinate having their car towed to a restore heart … misrepresented as accredited by the insurance coverage firm,” the DOI stated in an announcement.

The company alleged that Parga was successfully “stealing the victims’ autos.”

“Reyes and Parga would dispatch tow vans, whose drivers cooperated within the scheme and would choose up the autos and tow them to CA Collision,” based on the DOI.

Once locked inside Gomez’s restore websites, “CA Collision would maintain the car hostage and demand money cost from the insurance coverage corporations to have the autos launched,” based on the DOI.

In addition to the unlawful tow-and-holds, there was proof the conspirators engaged in “collusive collisions,” investigators alleged.

“One of these collisions was recorded by a defendant and found on the particular person’s telephone throughout a search warrant,” the DOI stated. “The video depicts the defendants deliberately crashing a BMW sedan right into a Polaris Slingshot. The defendants then claimed two separate crashes occurring on the freeway.”

No accidents have been reported in reference to the alleged acts.

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