32 Accused in San Diego-Based Insurance Fraud Ring

A long-running investigation into a San Diego-area auto insurance fraud ring involving staged collisions and thefts has resulted in charges against 32 defendants and uncovered $822,000 in losses, state officials said Friday.

The fraud involved going to car auctions, buying banged-up, high-mileage vehicles on the cheap, getting them insured and then filing inflated claims for damage or thefts, according to the California Department of Insurance.

Officials said they have found as many as 45 fraudulent claims, involving 56 vehicles, tied to the ring over the last four years.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Dealer’s Choice, led to 10 people charged in December 2019.

Operation Dealer’s Choice has now expanded to 32 defendants who are accused as members of the ring and are facing insurance fraud-related charges. Most of the defendants are residents of San Diego, but some come from other cities in the region from Imperial Beach to Vista.

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