Although the two defendants have been sentenced, the net could be cast wider to arrest and other conspirators in the case where they staged vehicle accidents and claimed from insurers fraudulently.
According to the initial reports, 33 cases of staged accidents were under investigation. The law has caught up with Teresa Ann Gonzalez and Michael White, who are masterminds of the fraud scheme that they used for several years to steal from unsuspecting insurance companies.
The two were sentenced together after they both pleaded guilty to different counts of the crimes in 2019. Additionally, the state will seize all the property believed to be acquired with the proceeds of this crime besides serving jail terms. Gonzales and White will be in prison for ten months and 14 months, respectively.
Gonzales will pay restitution of 13,132 dollars and a similar amount of property forfeiture. This figure is the amount she received from the single staged accident she was involved in defrauding the insurer. On the other hand, White was involved in four incidents. He will pay a restitution fee amount of 50,000 dollars and forfeiture of property worth a similar amount. He received 50,000 dollars in total for the four cases he was involved in to defraud insurance companies through fake automobile accidents. The investigators are pursuing several other conspirators believed to be working with the duo for a long time to commit wire fraud conspiracy. More arrests and prosecutions are expected regarding this case. Before sentencing, Gonzales had pleaded guilty to one count of mail and wire fraud conspiracy while White pleaded to mail and wire fraud conspiracy and four counts of fraud.
The coordinated efforts of the fraudsters ensured they reported accidents that involved only two vehicles (of the conspirators) without any other witness. Most of these cases were staged in remote places and would be purported to have happened at night. In total, the insurance companies lost more than 1 million dollars to the fraudsters in all the suspected cases. The impact of the staged accident is going to reach innocent motorists who will be forced to pay more premiums. According to the U. S Attorney Hyslop, the multi-agency team working on this case will make more arrests as investigations are ongoing.
Staging insurance claims and committing fraud by demanding illegal payments from the insurers are crimes punishable by law. It is essential to keep off criminal activities and report conspiracy deals made to defraud insurers. Report those who might be staging accidents to claim from insurance companies, including insurance company employees, customers, or the public. Do not forge documents, conspire with service providers, or anyone to gather fake evidence that can be used to commit crimes by demanding illegal claims. Continued use of these tactics increases premium payable by insurance clients in the future.
But anyone could be falsely accused of being a part of a conspiracy scheme to stage insurance accidents and committing fraud. As such, they may face severe legal consequences if they are found guilty by a court of law. You can navigate the legal issues if you are facing similar charges by engaging an experienced team of defense lawyers to represent you in court. Healthcare Fraud Group is an excellent team of defense lawyers that have been working with clients wrongly accused of insurance and healthcare fraud charges. If individuals are looking to maintain their innocence in court and are facing similar charges, they should take a step of contacting our criminal defense attorneys at 888-402-4054 to speak to a legal expert in insurance and healthcare fraud.