DA busts dozens of drivers in auto insurance sting

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SAN DIEGO – San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced charges Wednesday against 35 local drivers accused of auto insurance fraud, as a part of statewide sweep with potential losses to insurers of over $1 million.

A statewide sweep dubbed “Operation Crash and Buy” found drivers who had no auto insurance, were underinsured or added coverage after a collision or damage happened. Suspects filed fraudulent claims in an attempt to get the insurer to cover the damage to the uninsured vehicle, according to Dumanis.

District Attorney Offices in 22 counties filed 171 felony and 28 misdemeanor charges against 187 people for alleged auto insurance fraud committed against 40 insurance companies.

Around 84 felony charges were filed against 35 defendants in 30 criminal cases in San Diego County.  Charges include presenting a false insurance claim, concealing an event effecting insurance claim, attempted arson and filing a false police report.

“Our Insurance Fraud Division continues its track record of holding accountable those who would commit this type of fraud, and ultimately these types of prosecutions help protect the consumer,” said Dumanis. “These types of scams result in higher rates and premiums, especially for those customers who are insured by the companies hardest-hit by fraud.”

Detectives said the potential losses to insurers in California was more than $1 million.

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