LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — A Clark County grand jury has returned a 68-felony count indictment against 24 defendants for their roles in filing 23 fraudulent insurance claims related to staged automobile accidents and thefts, the largest multi-defendant indictment in Nevada attorney general history.
The counts against the Las Vegas residents include racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation, battery with a deadly weapon (all category “B” felonies), insurance fraud, a category “D” felony, theft in the amount of $3,500 or more, a category “B” felony, and attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more, a category “C” felony.
Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued 17 arrest warrants along with five summons for the defendants. Two defendants were already in custody at the time of the indictment. As a result of early-morning operations by investigators in the Attorney General’s Office on Friday and today, a total of 10 arrests have been made. Certain defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances before the court on Sept. 21 and Oct. 5.
“This indictment sends a clear message of deterrence to fraudsters engaged in dangerous staged accidents in Nevada,” said Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt. “Unlike most fraud schemes, which pose an economic danger to potential victims, the alleged conduct put the lives of those on Nevada’s roadways at risk for illicit profit. I am proud that investigators and prosecutors in my office are committed to protecting Nevadans by dismantling this, and similar, sophisticated criminal enterprises.”
“Our congratulations to all involved in putting a stop to this alleged staged accident ring,” said Joe Wehrle, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “Staged accidents pose a real threat of injury, even death, to innocent victims. Insurance fraud is never a victimless crime, since we all pay for it in the cost of insurance coverage.”