A married couple and their son-in-law are accused of collecting almost $200,000 by filing more than 40 fraudulent car insurance claims. The couple’s alleged activities were discovered when the California Department of Investigations launched an investigation after receiving a tip about suspicious claims from a car insurance company. The couple was taken into custody on Dec. 21, 2023. Their son-in-law surrendered to authorities on Jan. 29. The three defendants face a raft of felony charges and are scheduled to appear in court on April 10.
Car rental business
The couple own and operate a car rental company in Los Angeles. Their son-in-law was an employee. According to CDI investigators, the couple used information provided by their customers to obtain insurance policies for their fleet of rental vehicles. When their rental cars were involved in accidents, the couple impersonated their identity theft victims to file insurance claims. Investigators say the couple filed 47 fraudulent insurance claims and collected $192,282 between 2018 and 2020.
CID investigators discovered the scheme when they interviewed 15 of the couple’s customers. The customers are said to have told investigators that they had rented vehicles from the couple but did not give them permission to use their personal information. The couple and their son-in-law are charged with white-collar offenses including identity theft and insurance fraud. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.
A plea deal is likely
The penalties for white-collar crimes like insurance fraud are severe, but most of the people accused of committing them enter into plea agreements and receive more lenient sentences. Cases like this one tend to be resolved at the negotiating table because the prosecutors involved usually have compelling evidence like bank statements and other financial records. Prosecutors are willing to make concessions even when their evidence is strong to avoid the risks of a jury trial.