Commissioner Jones Announces Arrests of Auto Insurance Fraud Ring
News: 2011 Press Release
Today, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced the arrest of 20 individuals found to have been operating an auto insurance fraud ring in the Greater Los Angeles Area. An additional three arrest warrants are still pending. This comes after the culmination of a two year investigation by the Department of Insurance (CDI) Fraud Division. The potential loss is estimated to be in excess of $1,000,000. All suspects have been charged with various felony crimes including insurance fraud and conspiracy.
"Fake collision claims or claims that have been inflated drives up the cost of insurance for all consumers," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "Individuals who collaborate in conspiracies to commit fraud and other related criminal offenses will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
On September 4, 2009, Fraud Division Detectives served a search warrant on the residence of Norberto De Jesus Rivas, 38, who is already in custody on unrelated charges. During the execution of that search warrant, numerous items of evidence related to identity theft and automobile insurance fraud were seized, including numerous files where Rivas kept records for multiple fraudulent insurance claims. On April 10, 2010, CDI detectives served search warrants at various locations including Wilshire Health-Care Centre and the Residence of Albert Lee Ingram, 62. Rivas conspired with Ingram, owner of Metropolitan Health Care Center and Wilshire Health-Care Centre to facilitate this insurance fraud scheme. Ingram produced fraudulent medical reports and invoices for claimants that either never received treatment or for claimants that simply did not exist.
This investigation revealed Rivas as the main suspect who filed insurance claims by posing as one of the claimants or relative of the claimants. He corresponded directly with insurance companies by letter or telephone to avoid detection. Many of the collisions were completely fabricated for the purpose of defrauding insurance companies. Other collision claims with simple property damage, were enhanced by Rivas in order to obtain larger bodily injury settlements.
In many instances, the "real" claimants in these false collision claims were involved in the fraud from the beginning and had solicited Rivas' services to in order to make money. Rivas and Ingram each received one third of all settlements, the claimant received the remaining third. In instances where the claimant did not exist, Rivas and Ingram simply split the settlement 50/50.
The following agencies assisted CDI detectives with these arrests: California Highway Patrol Investigators; the Los Angeles District Attorney Auto Fraud Investigators; Office of the U.S. Inspector General - Postal Inspectors; Orange County Auto Theft Task Force; Orange County District Attorney Investigators and Parole Officers from the California Department of Corrections.
The following insurance companies assisted in this investigation and all were victimized by this organized crime ring: 21st Century Insurance (AIG); Esurance; Commerce West; State Farm; Mercury Insurance; Allstate; Infinity; Wawanesa and Farmers Insurance Company. The National Insurance Crime Bureau also provided assistance for this investigation.
The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, Auto Insurance Fraud Unit will be prosecuting the cases.
Those that were arrested include:
Albert Lee Ingram, 10/04/48 - Valencia; Bail $500,000.00
Luis Armando Carbajal, 06/17/81- Huntington Park; Bail $25,000.00
Walter Armando Galdamez, 11/23/74 - Los Angeles; Bail $25,000.00
Yarely Y. Maganda Valverde, 04/20/84 - Panorama City; Bail $25,000.00
Jorge Orozco Guerrero, 11/28/83 - Panorama City; Bail $25,000.00
Rony Sandoval, 05/08/87 - Lynwood; Bail $25,000
Helen Cristabel Garcia Rodriguez, 06/09/78 - Los Angeles; Bail $25,000.00
Marco Antonio Monterroso, 04/23/83 - Los Angeles; Bail $50,000.00
Alina Maganda Valverde, 04/09/87 - Pacoima; Bail $25,000.00
Brian Steve Linares, 08/22/85 - Los Angeles; Bail $25,000.00
Gladys Coralia Alegria Barillas, 03/01/73 - Los Angeles; Bail $25,000.00
Veraliz Maribel Amaya, 08/14/64 - South Gate; Bail $25,000.00
Jose Benjamin Humberto Salgado, 04/01/54 - Los Angeles; Bail $25,000.00
Ana Salgado, 10/10/53 - Los Angeles; Bail $25,000.00
Humberto Carbajal, 02/02/86 - Bell; Bail $25,000.00
Nancy Carrera, 01/03/78 - Whittier; Bail $25,000.00
Jovanni Sandoval, 10/03/90 - Lynwood; Bail $25,000.00
Roberto Zarate, 02/22/69 - Paramount; Bail $25,000.00
Diana Ligia Moreno Chicas, 04/29/74 - South Gate; Bail $25,000.00
Martha Del Carmen Chicas, 01/01/54 - South Gate; Bail $25,000.00
Maria De Las Nieves Valverde Guzman, 06/21/65 - Pacoima; Bail $25,000.00
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 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 $394 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.