Massive Car Insurance Fraud Ring in San Diego Scammed 12 Companies

At least 12 car insurance companies were defrauded in a massive scam in San Diego. How did the criminals scam the insurance companies?
Written by Ru Chen
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Aug 5, 2021
An investigation into a
car insurance
fraud ring in
San Diego
has led to fruitful, but alarming, results. 32 defendants have been charged with insurance fraud. $822,000 of losses have been uncovered so far. What do we know about this crime so far?
San Diego was home to a huge car insurance fraud ring.

Investigating fraudulent car insurance claims in San Diego

Generally, car insurance gives drivers peace of mind so that if an unexpected accident happens, whether it’s on the road or it’s something like an earthquake, you won’t bear too much financial loss.
This
California
car insurance fraud ring involves criminals trying to make money off of false claims. It’s not that they’re trying to fake an injury and got caught on dash cams.
According to the
San Diego Union-Tribune
, this fraud ring operated by buying used cars with high mileage at car auctions. They would look for a mix of the cheapest and most battered cars they could find.
Then, they would file inflated insurance claims for the damages.

Results of exposing the fraud ring

The investigation, since it started, has been dubbed Operation Dealer’s Choice. Officials announced that the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the cases.
Over the last four years, there have been around 45 fraudulent claims upon 56 vehicles that were tied to the fraud ring. Twelve insurance companies were victims of this fraud ring.
In December 2019, 10 people related to this auto insurance fraud ring were charged.
As of July 2021, 32 people have now been charged with fraud-related crimes. Of these, 17 people have already been arraigned in Superior Court.
Out of the four people sentenced, one San Diego man involved in the fraud ring got five years in prison and has to pay $140,000 in restitution.

Consequences, AKA why car insurance fraud affects everybody

Even though it doesn’t affect you directly if you aren’t involved in the fraud ring, each instance of auto insurance fraud adds up.
Insurance companies know that insurance fraud is one of the most committed crimes. They will check for the legitimacy of claims. They don’t want to give payouts to opportunistic criminals who are committing fraud.
But as with all laws, there are people who will break them. And one terrible consequence is: insurance costs go up. For everybody.
The
FBI
reported that it costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 per year in the form of increased premiums!

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National General
Allstate
AAA
Aig
Chubb
ClearCover
CSE
Dairyland
DirectAuto
Elephant Auto Insurance
Kemper
Libertymutual
Gainsco
Mapfre
Mercury Auto
Metromile
Nationwide
Plymouth Rock
Progressive
State Auto
Safeco
Travelers
Metlife
Bristol West

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