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Thursday, 05 April 2007 15:47

Ninth conviction marks end of staged accident fraud ring in Texas

 The ninth and last defendant in a staged auto accident insurance fraud ring was convicted of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity in Dallas County District Court on February 27. Jerry Lockhart was found guilty by the court and placed on five years probation and ordered to pay $57,239.70 restitution to the victims’ insurance companies. Lockhart was involved in what may be one of the largest staged accident rings prosecuted in Dallas County.
 The fraud scheme was detected when two insurance accident claims were filed for the same vehicle with different insurance companies during the same month. During the course of the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Fraud Unit’s investigation, it was discovered that 71 fraudulent claims totaling $589,431.69 were paid out from 19 insurance companies.
 Eight other defendants previously pleaded guilty to similar charges and were ordered to pay restitution, including brothers Michael Williams, Wallace Williams, Bobby Williams and Nathaniel Williams; along with Charles Boston, Nakia Brown, Brandon Williams and Kenneth Clewis. Those convicted were sentenced to probation with the exception of Michael Williams who was sentenced to seven years in prison and Kenneth Clewis who was sentenced to five years in prison.
 Several of the fraudulent claims involved identify theft. The victims of the identify theft had no knowledge their names were being used to purchase and insure vehicles, file fraudulent auto accident claims and cash insurance checks until contacted by the Fraud Unit.
 The case was prosecuted by the Texas Department of Insurance Special Prosecutor through a cooperative agreement with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. To report suspected fraud, call TDI’s Fraud Unit toll-free at (888) 327-8818.
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