Update: Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Personal Injury Protection Fraud

March 20th, 2008

Insurance Journal--Mar. 20, 2008

A Miami-Dade County man pleaded guilty to involvement in a staged accident ring, according to Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

Wilfred Cyriaque, 57, was sentenced to 54 months in prison, followed by five years of reporting probation. As a condition of his plea agreement, Cyriaque was also ordered to pay restitution of $329,366 to the following insurance companies: Allstate, Direct General, State Farm, Bristol West, Illinois National/AIG and Budget Rent-A-Car.

Cyriaque was the suspected ringleader of a 24-person staged accident ring, and in 2005 was charged with 51 counts each of insurance fraud and grand theft, four counts of staging an accident, and organized scheme to defraud, Sink said. Investigators believe Cyriaque may have staged as many as 90 crashes, she added.

The charges stem from investigations by the Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), a sworn statewide law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of insurance fraud. DIF made more than 800 insurance fraud-related arrests in the last fiscal year.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services