Weekly Car Insurance Crime Watch: December 6th

The news doesn’t stop, because crime never does either.

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

And it certainly is a deluge. This week: coverage of topics themed around the year’s end, the holiday season and auto insurance crime.

Coalition Counts Down Year’s Top Fraudsters

December began the countdown to 2014, and the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud gave PropertyCasualty360.com an exclusive look at its “Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame,” a look back at the year’s most outrageous, unseemly and unrepentant fraudsters.

When it came to auto insurance, the Coalition inducted two new “shamers”: Sol Naimark and Ana Ovando.

Sol Naimark was the star of his own lawyer-gone-bad story, which saw the licensed, New York-based attorney entangled in what federal prosecutors said is the “largest attempted looting of no-fault insurance money in history.”

The final tally is upward of $400 million.

According to the Coalition, Naimark was part of a “Russian-led criminal enterprise” that sported a staff of recruits several thousand strong. The attorney was the key enabler in the complex scheme, threatening auto insurers with personal injury lawsuits based on staged crash claims.

The Coalition said Naimark earned about $273,000 in attorney’s fees, which—by my count, give or take—is less than 1 percent of the syndicate’s entire $400 million take.

Should’ve pushed a better deal for yourself, Sol. Hope they leased a car, at least.

The second “Hall of Shame” inductee is Ana Ovando, a mother of five whose child-rearing methods were harsh, to say the least.

Ovando put her entire brood at the mercy of Florida’s no-fault car insurance system when she “stuffed” her kids, ages 13 to 16 years old, into a vehicle. No, she wasn’t in a rush to beat traffic; Ovando carried out three staged crashes with the kids in the car in an attempt to fake whiplash injuries.

A Gift for a Crashed Cop Cruiser, Gone Unreported

Not every story on the weekly crime watch will be about crime itself. Given that it’s the warm-hearted holiday season, OAIN will touch on a few topics on the periphery of crime.

This headline has to do with those who battle auto insurance-related crime: police.

The Bethel Police Department in Ohio got a $10,300 gift by way of a claims settlement from a car insurer for a police cruiser that was damaged in August.

The settlement is a gift because, according to Cincinnati.com, Bethel’s police chief was worried that the crash, which was unreported in police logs, would be covered by the insurer with “a couple grand.”

The cruiser will be replaced in January.

A Gift for a Motorcyclist, Victimized Decades Ago

Santa’s sleigh might be the coolest ride in the sky, but motorcycles are still the “closest thing to flying without leaving the ground.”

Motorcyclists feel that way about their rides, so imagine the holiday joy that Don Devault felt about the gift of being reunited with his 1953 Triumph.

Only this gift was 46 years in the making.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Devault found the sweet bike gone from his Omaha, Neb., backyard back in 1967.

Devault is still an Omaha resident and got his bike back, 46 years later. By the bureau’s count, that’s 17,090 days.

Devault’s Santa Claus is an agent with the NICB and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency who spotted the bike in a much-publicized sting operation the agencies spearheaded last month at the port of Los Angeles.

The bike was set to be shipped to Japan.

“Well, I love it,” he said about the motorcycle. “Can’t wait to have its name put back on.”

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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