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LA woman sentenced for involvement in staged collision insurance fraud ring

News: 2021 Press Release

For Release: February 24, 2021
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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LA woman sentenced for involvement in staged collision insurance fraud ring
The ring’s scheme resulted in over $135,000 in undeserved insurance payouts

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Zandra Monterrozo, 44, of Corona, pleaded guilty and was sentenced for her involvement in an organized ring that intentionally staged vehicle collisions in order to collect over $135,000 in undeserved insurance payouts. Eleven other suspects have been either charged or prosecuted.

Monterrozo was sentenced on February 19, 2021, to one felony count of insurance fraud, paid $6,000 in restitution and was ordered to serve one year of probation.

The Los Angeles Insurance Fraud Task Force, comprised of California Department of Insurance detectives and California Highway Patrol investigators, began this investigation after stopping at a suspicious vehicle collision, which was determined to be staged and involved a scheme called the “sudden stop.” The collision resulted in serious bodily injury.

A sudden stop collision is when one car intentionally brakes quickly, for no apparent reason, giving the driver behind them little time to react and causing a rear-end collision.

“This organized ring not only staged collisions, they put innocent motorists in harm’s way resulting in serious injuries," said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. "Through the hard work of our multi-agency task force, another dangerous ring has been put out of business."

The investigation revealed that the suspects were involved in eight innocent victim staged vehicle collisions and two collusive vehicle collisions resulting in a $137,832 loss to victims and various insurance carriers. The suspects utilized identity theft, a capper, an insurance broker, auto body shops, medical providers, and law offices to carry out their scheme.

These types of staged crashes are most often perpetrated by organized rings. Stagers target high-value vehicles such as commercial vehicles, expensive luxury vehicles, and vehicles owned by cities or counties. These vehicles are targeted because there is a virtual guarantee of insurance coverage. Los Angeles makes up nearly 43 percent of all auto-related insurance fraud in California.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.

List of additional suspects:

  • Bethuel Guevara Aguirre, 39
  • Monica Elizabeth Sosa Alonzo, 39
  • Baudilio Enrique Noguera, 49
  • Juan Venancio Juarez Miranda, 49
  • Carlos Enrique Lopez, 56
  • Emma Amparo Lemus Martinez, 59
  • Osmar Fernando Lopez, 40
  • Alfonso Leon Baltazar, 51
  • Mario Renee Alonzo, 67
  • Marcos Farias, 70
  • Walter Chacon, 31

Media notes:

  • If you suspect you or someone you know are the victim of a staged collision insist on a police report; document as much information about the collision as possible, use a cell phone to document the post-collision damage with photographs or video; ask the peace officer to positively identify everyone involved, report the suspicious collision to the California Department of Insurance by calling 800-927-4357 or visit our website at
  • After a collision look for these following red-flags of fraudulent activity:
    • The other car is packed with passengers.
    • The other driver has a relatively new insurance policy.
    • The other car is in poor condition or has a "salvage" title.
    • Traffic was flowing smoothly and the other driver stopped suddenly.
    • The other driver and his passengers all claim injury despite relatively minor collision damage to the vehicles.

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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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