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Ontario street racer charged with auto insurance fraud and grand theft

News: 2020 Press Release

For Release: October 29, 2020
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Ontario street racer charged with auto insurance fraud and grand theft

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Michael Lynn Cooper, 55, of Ontario, was charged with multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and grand theft after allegedly misrepresenting the facts of a collision to his insurance company in order to receive an undeserved payout after he was street racing.

In April 2020, Cooper reported an automobile collision to his insurance company that claimed his 2016 Dodge Challenger was sideswiped when another vehicle was trying to race him. The collision caused him to lose control and hit a building resulting in debris damage to two other vehicles. Cooper’s insurance company paid $35,321 for his claim.

In May 2020, Cooper's insurance company referred the case to the Department of Insurance after receiving video showing what appeared to be Cooper street racing before the collision.

An investigation by the Department of Insurance, with assistance from the Ontario Police Department, resulted in charges against Cooper for street racing and driving over 100 mph prior to the collision. Street racing is an exclusion of coverage under his insurance policy. The alleged fraud resulted in a $35,321 loss to the insurance company.

Cooper is also being charged with Vehicle Code violations for street racing and giving false statements to a peace officer.

Cooper self-surrendered on October 28, 2020, and was booked at the West Valley Detention Center where he remains in custody. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office – Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

Media note:

  • Additional information from the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office on this case, including the charging document, is available here.

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Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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