53 accused in staged car crash schemes

May 13, 2011

The following article was published in the St. Petersburg Times on May 13, 2011:

53 accused in staged car crash schemes

Authorities say a five-month investigation into staged car accidents and insurance fraud culminated in arrest warrants for 53 people in the Tampa area.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that search warrants were served at four medical clinics as part of the operation. Tampa has one of the highest rates of staged accidents for insurance fraud in the country.

Some suspects are accused of participating in crashes, others of running clinics involved in insurance scams. Deputies said the charges range from conspiracy to commit racketeering to filing false insurance claims.

Authorities said the clinics scammed insurers out of $1 million to $2 million during the course of the investigation.

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