Weekly Car Insurance Crime Watch: October 18th

Suspect in custodyThe news doesn’t stop, because crime never does either.

With the deluge of crime stories that Online Auto Insurance News (OAIN) sees everyday relating to car coverage, here is a roundup of this week’s biggest headline-grabbing yarns.

And it certainly is a deluge. This week: a young lady tries to get over on GEICO; a disingenuous agent tries to bilk thousands from an unknowing client; and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state administrators fire their first shot in a war against no-fault fraudsters.

Teen Sentenced for Lying to GEICO for Boyfriend

“Age ain’t nothing but a number.”

That seems to ring true for this relatively young criminal, 19-year-old Alexis Mecham, who was sentenced this week for insurance fraud after she pleaded guilty in September for filing a false claim on her boyfriend’s vehicle with GEICO.

According to Idaho news outlet KMVT-TV, Mecham, from Nampa, Idaho, filed a claim for damages that she said occurred to her boyfriend’s vehicle on July 21 last year while she was behind the wheel.

“GEICO Insurance later discovered Mecham had actually been involved in an accident and cited for DUI on July 4, 2012, in Valley County,” the KMVT-TV report said. “However, the coverage on the vehicle had been cancelled on June 9, 2012, for non-payment. On July 9, 2012, her boyfriend had his policy reinstated and added collision coverage to the policy.”

And to borrow other lyrics from an R&B diva, “love don’t cost a thing,” except in this case, when it cost Mecham:

  • An eight-day jail sentence
  • $2,000 fine (plus court costs)
  • Three-year supervised probation term
  • 50 hours of community service

What happened to the good ‘ol lie about borrowing/stealing somebody’s/daddy’s ride for a night at Sandy’s/make-out point?

Insurance Agent Adds Herself to Client’s Auto Policy, Gets Arrested

Agents from the California Department of Insurance (CDI) arrested Graciela Elena Paredes, a 36-year-old from Corona, Calif., this month on a felony count of insurance fraud.

Investigators allege that Paredes added herself to an unknowing customer’s auto coverage policy in March 29, 2011, saying on the documentation that she had been added to the policy in early March.

The day before she added herself to the policy, Paredes was involved in a crash with an uninsured motorist; she eventually got $11,000 from her—or, rather, her client’s—car insurer for the crash.

The next month, the CDI said, Paredes’ client approached her about the policy. She “admitted to adding herself to the policy,” said she was off of the policy, but conveniently forgot to mention anything about the claim she had filed about the crash with the uninsured motorist.

So the next time you think your agent is shady for maybe upping the price tag, give some thanks that they didn’t do worse.

NY Gov. Cuomo Bans ‘Dirty Doctors’ from No-Fault Billing

No, “dirty doctors” has nothing to do with “dirty dancing,” though New York has something to do with both of them.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 18 such doctors were barred from billing the state’s no-fault auto insurance system “as part of an extensive and ongoing Department of Financial Services (DFS) investigation.”

The doctors are accused of billing insurers for unnecessary or nonexistent treatments relating to car crashes and trading tax ID numbers to fake medical mills that submit more fake bills to insurers.

“A dirty doctor is typically the key ingredient in these schemes and cutting them out can have a major impact,” Benjamin Lawsky, DFS’s superintendent, said in a statement. “Our investigation is continuing and other doctors should think twice about the consequences before trying to rip off the no-fault insurance system.”

This first round of bans is the state’s first to be enforced under a DFS initiative that was announced last year.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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