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Tuesday, 05 October 2010 22:27

Hialeah, FL, Police have arrested five insurance adjusters accused of fraud

Investigators said the five suspects were caught on camera taking money from an informant from a Hialeah body shop.

According to Hialeah Police, three of the suspects are Allstate adjusters and the other two work for State Farm.

Authorities said these men would help tamper and further damage cars and write up more expensive claims. Then, the suspects would allegedly split the money amongst themselves. "They, in many ways, betrayed their employers, betrayed the colleagues they worked with, they betrayed the people for whom they were filing these claims for and then of course ultimately all of us-- you the consumer," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office talked about Operation Crash & Bash for Cash and released undercover video.

For more than a year, prosecutors, police, an insurance industry agent and an informant have been working to crack the $5 million case. Investigators used undercover video to show how people would allegedly fake car accidents and injuries, take their cars to auto body shops that would make the wreckage seem worse. "We are going to be coming after you," said Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton. "We are not going to allow you to continue to impact the citizens of our communities, financially the way that they've been doing it."

The insurance industry has inside investigators to impede schemes similar to this one. "Ultimately, the money that we save on fraudulent claims, we can give back to our customers and help protect those law-abiding drivers," said Amy Moore of Allstate Insurance.

In all, 40 people have been arrested, as a result of 23 alleged staged car wrecks. All of them were either car owners or body shop workers until these recent arrests. Investigators said they are simply working up the food-chain.

The five men accused of racketeering and several grand theft charges are identified as Jeremazine Kirkland, Roman A. Hernandez, Julio Manuel Ravelo, Eduardo Javier Quinonez and Roy Joseph Stella.

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