Six Southern California residents have been arrested for staging automobile accidents to collect insurance money, the California Department of Insurance announced Monday.
The arrests were on “felony charges alleging fraudulent insurance claims, allegedly staging two automobile accidents and fraudulent vehicle vandalism,” the state said. “If convicted on all charges, the suspects face up to five years in prison and fines up to $50,000 each.”
In one case, the department said, 45-year-old Suren Grigorian damaged a 2007 Merced sedan parked in his garage and collected $20,000 from an insurance company.
Staged collisions in 2008 resulted in insurance companies paying more than $60,000, the department alleged.
In addition to Grigorian, persons identified as taken into custody were Aida Akopian, 36; Seda Markarian, 62; Mamikon Hakobyan, 74; Masis Galstan, 49; Rosa Galstyan, 42; Roza Issayan, 41; and Setik Patatanian, 49.
"Fraud occurs when someone knowingly lies to obtain some benefit or advantage to which they are not otherwise entitled or someone knowingly denies some benefit that is due and to which someone is entitled," the department said. "Depending on the specific issues involved, an alleged wrongful act may be handled as an administrative action by the Department or the Fraud Division may handle it as a criminal matter."