News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: July 10, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Two San Jose Men Arrested For Alleged Auto Insurance Fraud
Commissioner Steve Poizner announced today the arrests of two San Jose men as the result of an investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Urban Auto Fraud Task Force (Task Force) into alleged auto insurance fraud. Earlier this morning Vu Tuan Phan, 22, and "Billy" Quoc Viet Duong, 22, both of San Jose were apprehended at their residence. Each defendant was charged with one count of insurance fraud, and Duong was also charged with one count of perjury. Each suspect faces a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.
"Filing false insurance claims is not a victimless crime," said Commissioner Poizner. "The costs are passed on directly on to you, me and every other policyholder. All together, insurance fraud costs every man, woman and child $500 a year in California."
The Task Force is comprised of investigators from CDI, the California Highway Patrol and the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting the case.
Duong only had liability coverage through his father's insurance company, Mercury Insurance Company, when he stated his Honda Civic was rear-ended in a hit-and-run collision on June 11, 2007. It is alleged that Duong actually wrecked his Honda Civic by backing into an unknown object at a previous point in time. Needing corroboration for the alleged accident, Duong asked Phan, his friend, to state that he was riding in the vehicle at the time of the alleged hit-and-run. Such a role in this scheme is known as the "stuffed passenger." Both Phan and Duong claimed they were injured, apparently in an effort to make the alleged fraud more realistic. After Duong and Phan made statements to the insurance company, Phan admitted that he was never in the Honda Civic when it was wrecked. Phan stated he was just trying to help out his friend.
Commissioner Poizner oversees sixteen CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Nearly 1,900 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by CDI since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 - more arrests than have been made during any other two year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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