By STAFF | Insurance Journal
Florida officials said they have busted an alleged $800,000 insurance claims scam in which food trucks were used to stage accidents.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the outcome of a two-year insurance fraud investigation resulting in the arrests of 15 defendants for their roles in a Miami ring that used lunch trucks to stage more than a dozen accidents and file more than $800,000 in fraudulent property damage and personal injury protection (PIP) claims.
The owners of the lunch trucks allegedly recruited participants to pose as the owners and stage auto accidents. Between 2008 and 2010, the ring staged more than a dozen accidents, according to officials.
Atwater’s office said those arrested last week were Armando Alonso, Yordan Martin Mata, Yanet Soriano, Dunaikis Roche, April Caridad Sequinot, Alberto Paz Hernandez, Yoandris Benitez, Eduardo Alonso Castellanos, Lucia Amigot, Alicia Iris Laurenco Cuesta, Ivan Silva, Robert Jabani Hinklein, Abraham Alliegro, Evelyn Yero Noy and Jesus Iluminado Guerrero. Yoandris Benitez surrendered today.
Atwater said additional arrests are anticipated.
This case is part of a crackdown by the CFO’s Division of Insurance Fraud and the National Insurance Crime Bureau against auto insurance fraud in Florida. The division has arrested 392 individuals for PIP fraud in 2011, a 44 percent increase from 2010, and 166 so far in 2012.
The Florida Legislature this past session passed reforms of the PIP system in an effort to further reduce fraud.
“I am confident that reforms passed this session will help stop fraud at the source while giving us more tools to go after scam artists,” Atwater said.