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The Fraud Report

8 GA Residents Arrested, 3 Still Wanted for Staged Accidents

by FraudReport 28. August 2015 09:53

In total, eight Macon residents have been arrested for their roles in a staged accident ring, in which officials say they rented moving trucks and purposely crashed them into their cars.

Tamika Hogan and 52-year-old Sammy Lee Briggs Jr. are the most recently arrested for their crimes. The first round of participants was arrested on August 24th.  Hogan is facing charges for theft by deception, insurance fraud and false report of a crime.

According to NBC News, Officials say Hogan, Briggs, and nine other people crashed moving trucks into their cars. They would then file a claim with their insurance agency.

Georgia Fire Safety and Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens stated, "Anytime fraud is committed against an insurance company, it causes every citizens in Georgia an increase in their premium because Georgia law mandates that you have to have automobile insurance.”

Four of the eleven suspects are also facing felony cruelty to children charges because they had minors in the back of their cars when they staged the accidents. 

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said, "That makes this even more heinous. They're trying to get more money basically to scam the insurance out of more money to pay for a child's supposed injury. So that just takes it up to an even more severe level of abuse.”

The state agency says these arrests stem from three separate investigations referred to the Department by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The first investigation involved 25-year-old Haaruwn Prince, 20-year-old Zanquanishia Floyd, 23-year-old Demario Anton James, and Briggs. They allegedly attempted to collect over $30,000 from their insurers after Prince hit Floyd's car, which also had two minors inside.

Those four suspects were each charged with one count of insurance fraud. Prince, Floyd and James were also charged with one count of false report of a crime and two counts of cruelty to children, which is a felony. Floyd is also charged with one county of theft by deception, also a felony.

The second investigation involved 69-year-old Sammie Lee Starks, 19-year-old Linniece Victoria Starks, 20-year-old Tamika Dashon, and 22-year-old Jonathan Gutierrez. Sammie Starks allegedly attempted to get $30,000 in payments after Hogan hit Stark's vehicle, which Linniece Stark was driving.

Each of those suspects were charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of theft by deception. Linniece Starks and Hogan were also charged with filing a false report of a crime.

The third investigation involved Prince, 46-year-old Bryant Orlando Tanner, 22-year-old Sherrod Herschel James, and 22-year-old Darnez Rashod Cotton. Investigators say Prince hit the vehicle Tanner was driving with two minors were inside. These four offenders allegedly tried to collect more than $50,000 in claim payments from their insurers.

Each suspect in the third case was charged with one count of insurance fraud. Prince and Tanner are also charged with two counts of cruelty to children in the second degree and one count each of filing a false police report. For Prince, these charges are in addition to the four filed against him in the first investigation.

“I appreciate the National Insurance Crime Bureau for the referrals of these three cases and the assistance of Sheriff Davis and he deputies with the arrests,” Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said in a statement. “Not only are accident rings dangerous for the public, they make everyone's auto premiums go up.”

Insurance fraud is a felony that carries a penalty of two to ten years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, or potentially both.

Demario James, 23; Tamika Dashon, 20; and Sherrod James, 22, still have outstanding warrants.

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Categories: Staged Accidents

NY Man Who Murdered Fiancée Jailed on Fraud, Arson Charges

by FraudReport 21. August 2015 11:36

Much like Al Capone, a notorious killer who was finally taken off the streets because of an unrelated federal charge, a New York man who was suspected of murder is now in jail due to other reasons. He was recently found guilty of charges related to the case in which he is suspected of murdering his fiancée.

Back in 2009 Angela Moss was murdered, allegedly to collect on her life insurance policy by her then fiancé, Ronald Epps, 47.

Epps was recently found guilty of wire fraud, mail fraud, arson, possession of Molotov cocktails, maintaining a premises for drug trafficking, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Investigators found a firearm next to a scale with cocaine residue and a razor under Moss’ bed in his apartment.

According to WKBW News and prosecutors, on July 2, 2009, the engaged couple went to State Farm to change Moss’ $100,000 life insurance policy, making Epps the sole beneficiary.

"The defendant went into an insurance agency approximately seven weeks before her murder, and asked to become the sole beneficiary on her life insurance policy.  That policy went into effect three weeks before her murder," explained Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Marangola.

On August 27, 2009 at 11pm, Moss left her job at a nursing home and was seen getting into the passenger side of a car.

Her body was found at 6am the next morning, having been shot in the back of the head. Her car was also found nearby.

Just four short days later, Epps filed a claim with State Farm in an attempt to collect the life insurance policy. However, that claim went unpaid.

Though not charged with murder, in order to find Epps guilty of fraud, prosecutors had to prove that Epps had killed Moss. A jury found Epps guilty on all counts, including a charge that Epps was using his apartment to distribute cocaine, pills and marijuana.

The wire and mail fraud charges were the result of Moss attempting to collect on the life insurance policy, since documents were faxed across state lines. Since those were unsuccessful, he then set two fires at his rental property, and did get to collect insurance money from those.

On August 1, 2010, Epps obtained renter’s insurance from State Farm on the apartment he had shared with Moss. Two moths later, on October 13, Epps set fire to the vacant apartment next to his using Molotov cocktails, causing minimal damage to his own apartment. That didn’t seem to be enough though, because two days after that he set his own apartment on fire.

He filed a claim and was paid $3,769 from State Farm on May 31, 2011.

According to WIVB News and U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola, who prosecuted the case, “Over a 16-month period, to have your fiancé die and have your house burn down twice, it obviously is suspicious. But he was really desperate for money and that’s what we told the jury.”

She also noted, “It is a lot more difficult and challenging, obviously. You have to explain to the jury and hope that they believe the motive the same way you do. But the benefit of having a circumstantial case is memories don’t fade, cell phone records never change. There’s no motive there. The cell tower showing where he was pinging was never changing. They were always there for us.”

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III said in a statement, “the USA Office trial team should be commended. Even though it’s a different charge and the rules of federal evidence and procedure are different from state rule, it was a difficult case. We didn’t think we had enough to go forward on a state charge. The Federal authorities, however, thought they had enough on a federal charge and they were right.”

U.S. Attorney William Hochul said this was the first time his office used federal fraud laws to convict a killer.

Epps’ sentencing is scheduled for December 10th. The charges carry a mandatory minimum of 35 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life.

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Categories: Scandalous Schemes