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CA Department of Insurance

More than two dozen charged in staged collision auto insurance fraud scheme

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: May 11, 2016
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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More than two dozen charged in staged collision auto insurance fraud scheme
Elaborate organized ring, one of the largest in Fresno history

FRESNO, Calif. – In one of the largest arrest operations in Fresno history, detectives from the California Department of Insurance, fanned out across the valley and southland areas to arrest more than two dozen people on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud for allegedly staging auto collisions to scam more than four insurance companies out of tens of thousands of dollars.

The suspects allegedly submitted 26 fraudulent insurance claims totaling more than $140,000. Once the insurers paid the claim, the suspects pocketed the proceeds and did not repair damaged vehicles. Department of Insurance detectives, along with Fresno County District Attorney investigators, launched an investigation after receiving suspected fraud referrals from the insurance company. The CSAA Insurance Group was instrumental in assisting detectives with uncovering the fraud.

"California is ground zero for auto insurance fraud," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Insurance fraud costs insurers billions every year and those costs are all passed along to consumers through higher insurance premiums. Bottom line—everyone pays for insurance fraud."

Evidence revealed the suspects orchestrated an elaborate scheme to defraud insurers with paper collisions that never occurred or by intentionally damaging vehicles to submit fraudulent claims. The organized ring recruited some co-conspirators with promises of cash or fixing their previously damaged vehicles. Another element of scheme included stealing people's identities to submit fraudulent claims.

Suspects were booked into the Fresno County Jail. The Fresno County District Attorney is prosecuting this case.

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Media Notes:

*Artur Ashotovich Grigoryan               32 Fresno (ring leader)
Anna Piliposyan                                27 Fresno  
*Hakob Ashoti Grigoryan  24 Fresno
*Arayik Karapetyan                     40 Fresno  
*Ray Chris Walker   54  Fresno  
William Lee Jenkins                     71  Fresno 
Ernest James Taylor      37 Fresno 
Latryce Shaneke Mallory    26 Fresno 
*Douglas Robert Rose                  51 Fresno  
Poghos Sahakyan    48 Fresno  
Joeleen Gomez                           27  Fresno
*Richard Leon Franklin Jr.  36   Fresno
*Thomas Elton Finley   39  Fresno
*Ashot Hovhannisyan  30 Fresno
Robert Thomas Lyman  37  Fresno
Adriana Torrespina   26  Fresno
Amandeep Singh Sangha                     32 Coalinga
*Taron Tadevosyan                      25  Fresno 
*Ashley Kae Johnson  29 Fresno 
Rebeka Ambartsumyan                 35  North Hollywood
Artur Tadovosyan                        34  Fresno
Javier Mercado    29 Kingsburg
*Douglas Allen Rose                    54 Fresno
*Artak Ghazaryan       20 Fresno
*Hermine Hambartsumyan      34 Fresno
Jessica Walter          27 San Antonio, TX
*Gayane Gharzaryan  44 Fresno
 *Derenik Martirosyan      24     Fresno

* Suspect is in custody

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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