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Local News November 5th, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Poizner Announced Eight Arrests - San Diego County Staged Auto Collision Ring

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that a year-long investigation by California Department of Insurance detectives has resulted in eight arrests and the dismantling of a staged automobile collision ring.

“Criminals that engage in staged auto collisions seek monetary gain while risking not only their lives but also the innocent lives of other drivers on the road,” Commissioner Poizner said. “Through the diligent work of our fraud detectives and a tireless effort by this department and our partners, we have broken up a crime ring that has caused more than $200,000 in damages."

The suspects were arrested throughout San Diego County for their alleged roles in staging violent automobile collisions in order to fraudulently collect money from insurance carriers. More than 83 felony counts of insurance fraud were filed last Thursday against the suspects by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Twenty-eight counts were filed against the alleged ring leader, Jay Stoney Anderson, 31, of Chula Vista, for his alleged involvement in at least seven staged collisions. If convicted, Anderson could face up to 11 years in prison. Anderson is already in custody for a probation violation, CDI detectives said.

In each collision, the vehicle that caused the collision, commonly referred to as the “hammer” vehicle, was abandoned at the scene prior to police arrival. Follow-up investigation revealed that the hammer vehicles had either been abandoned by their registered owners or reported as stolen prior to the collision.

For each collision, the passengers in the other involved vehicle, referred to as the “nail” vehicle, claimed soft tissue injuries and sought treatment at a local hospital. These passengers later filed personal injury claims with the insurer. When the insurance company settled the claims, the payment checks were sent directly to the “injured” passengers who allegedly left outstanding hospital bills.

In one particular staged collision, the backpack of an occupant of the nail vehicle was found by police in the hammer vehicle of the same collision, which had been abandoned at the scene. Numerous connections between the owners of the hammer vehicle to the occupants of the nail vehicles were found throughout the investigation. The investigation also revealed numerous connections between participants of each collision and Anderson.

To date, seven insurance carriers have paid out more than $200,000 to suspects involved in these 11 staged collisions.

California Department of Insurance Detective Matthew Barnes led the Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force team in this investigation. The San Diego AIFTF is comprised of detectives from the Department of Insurance, investigators from the California Highway Patrol, San Diego District Attorney’s office and a National Insurance Crime Bureau special agent.

This is an ongoing investigation and additional charges may by filed by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office in the future. The case is being prosecuted by San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Victor Ou.

Commissioner Poizner oversees 16 CDI Enforcement Branch regional offices throughout the state. Approximately 1,900 insurance fraud-related arrests have been made by the Department of Insurance’s enforcement division since Commissioner Poizner took office in 2007 – more arrests than have been made during any other two year period, under any previous insurance commissioner.

Film Premiere in Valley Center

A feature-length documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong” will be presented on Saturday, November 14th, at 2:30pm, at the Valley Center Branch Library's Community Room, 29200 Cole Grade Road. The film is presented by North County Conservatives. The organization says that the documentary will show the true cost of the Global Warming hysteria brought about by Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Since reservations are required, you may contact Lynn Miller at (760) 751-9184 or ncccoord@gmail.com for more information. There is no charge, but donations will be accepted to cover licensing and film expenses.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Comes to San Diego

“America’s Toughest Sheriff,” as he is known to thousands, Joe Arpaio, is coming to San Diego tomorrow night in support of candidate for San Diego County Sheriff Jay La Suer.

The fundraiser will be at the Marina Village, Seaside Room, 1936 Quivira Way, San Diego. A VIP Reception and Dinner will set attendees back $150 per person, or $250 per couple, for which participants will get Hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a personal photograph with Sheriff Joe. Dinner only is $100 per person, $150 per couple. There is also a silent and Live Auction. More information is available at: www.SheriffJay.org.

Carlsbad Girl Chased, Residents on Alert

Carlsbad police say two men in a pickup truck followed a 13-year-old girl as she walked through her neighborhood in Carlsbad. The passenger got out of the truck and began chasing her. When the girl ran to a house for help, the man took off.

The girl was walking her dog in the 5100 block of Frost Avenue around 6:30 p.m. last Thursday when she noticed a black, full-sized pickup truck following her, said police Lt. Paul Mendes.

The girl became nervous and walked a little faster, he said. The truck also sped up, and when the girl began to run, the passenger got out and began chasing her. She ran to a house looking for help, and once the girl left the sidewalk, the suspect ran back to the truck, which then made a u-turn and headed west on Frost Avenue, Mendes said.

The driver was described as a Hispanic man with medium skin tone and wearing a dark-colored shirt. The passenger of the truck, and the one who chased the girl, was described as a Hispanic man in his early 40s, 5 feet 2 inches with a thin build and brown or black braided hair. He was wearing a black, baseball hat, black T-shirt and blue jeans. He had a slight accent when he spoke rapidly and his voice was a low pitch, according to Mendes.

Investigators asked anyone with information about the men to call Carlsbad Police at (760) 931-2197.

Customs and Border Patrol Interrupt Two Maritime Smuggling Attempts

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped two apparent maritime smuggling attempts this weekend in San Diego County arresting 21 illegal aliens, three from Bolivia.

On Sunday afternoon at about 2 p.m., U.S. Border Patrol agents observed a 22-foot Cobalt boat with 13 occupants dock at the Oceanside Harbor Marina. Agents questioned the group and determined that they were all in the country illegally. From the group, Border Patrol agents identified two males as suspected smugglers, six male and two female occupants as Mexican nationals. Also in the group were two females and one male from the country of Bolivia.

Another apprehension occurred on Saturday, at about 4 p.m., when CBP Marine Interdiction agents were patrolling the ocean close to the border between Mexico and the United States. The agents saw an 18-foot Bayliner boat cross into the U.S. and stopped the vessel to perform a check.

Agents questioned the four people visible above deck, and noticed suspicious inconsistencies with their story. Agents boarded the boat and discovered four additional people in the cabin below deck; the cabin was locked from the outside. The agents determined that none of the occupants aboard the boat, two women and six men, had documents to legally enter the United States.

All were arrested and transported to a U.S. Border Patrol station for processing. CBP took possession of the vessels, below, at sea, and docked.

Carlsbad Police Employ Undercover Sting to Cite Illegal Day Labor Solicitors

Undercover police with the Carlsbad Police Department have been successful in enforcing the anti-solicitation law to cite day laborers who gather in areas that police say create dangerous traffic hazards. Much of the sting activity has been along El Camino Real. Carlsbad officers, in civilian clothes and cars, stop and when approached by the day laborers, cite them. If it proves they are also illegal alients, they are turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Critics say the cops are denying the day laborers a right wo work; police say they are simply trying to address a safety problem. It's dangerous for drivers to stop on busy roads to pick up the workers, Carlsbad police Capt. Neil Gallucci said. Recently, nine people were cited and nine others suspected of being in the country illegally were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol, Gallucci said.

• • • • •

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