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CA Department of Insurance

Five Sacramento area suspects arrested for staging automobile theft

News: 2013 Press Release

For Release: January 28, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Five Sacramento area suspects arrested for staging automobile theft

Sacramento - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that James Adkins, 44 of Loomis, Justin Highsmith, 33 of Fair Oaks, James Peacock, 38, Kori Feinstein, 33, and Kevin Johnson, 37, all of Sacramento were arrested and each charged with one felony count of insurance fraud including providing false statements in support of an insurance claim. Feinstein and Johnson were also charged with one felony count of possession of stolen property and vehicle theft. Bail for Johnson is set at $100,000 and for the other suspects $40,000.

According to investigators from the California Department of Insurance (CDI), in May 2010, Adkins filed a claim with his insurance company and credit union alleging his 2002 Cadillac Escalade was stolen. Adkins then made statements to the insurer and law enforcement that his Cadillac was stolen from his residence in Sacramento. Approximately six weeks before filing his insurance claim, investigators allege that Adkins, Highsmith, and Peacock staged the theft.

Investigators further allege that in April 2010, Johnson purchased Adkins' Cadillac, and after he became aware it was reported stolen in July 2010, attempted to hide the vehicle from law enforcement officials who had contacted him to inspect the vehicle. According to investigators, Johnson purchased parts from other salvaged vehicles and swapped the parts onto the Cadillac in an attempt to hide its true identity. Johnson and Feinstein then allegedly went to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and re-registered the Cadillac as a 2004 GMC Yukon.

After interviewing witnesses and conducting an investigation, CDI's Auto Fraud Task Force discovered Highsmith and Peacock assisted Adkins in this owner give-up insurance fraud scheme. It was also discovered that Johnson used a local auto repair facility to assist him in switching out stolen parts on the vehicle. 

The insurance company ultimately denied Adkins' claim, but would have paid approximately $26,000 if the fraud had not been discovered.

Adkins, Highsmith, Feinstein and Johnson were arrested in Sacramento County and booked into the Sacramento County Jail. Peacock is currently in custody serving time at Lancaster State Prison in Los Angeles County on an unrelated matter.

This case was investigated by the CDI Organized Automobile Fraud Interdiction Program from the Sacramento Regional Office. The Sacramento County District Attorney is prosecuting this case.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 million in claims and premiums. 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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