Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced the August 5 arrests of Amjad Javaid, 53, and his wife, Zarina Javaid, 43, both of West Sacramento, as well as their son, Fahad Javaid, 24, and his wife, Fatima Javaid, 23, both of Sacramento. The group was arrested as the result of an investigation conducted by the Sacramento County Urban Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force (Task Force) into alleged auto insurance fraud.
All were booked into the Sacramento County Jail. All suspects have been charged with conspiracy, presenting a false oral or written statement to the insurance company, and knowingly presenting a false claim to the insurance company. All suspects except Zarina Javaid have also been charged with arson. The case is being prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office. If convicted, each suspect could face up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines for each count. "No matter how hard the economic times, people need to remember that insurance fraud is a felony, you will be caught, and you will be prosecuted," said Poizner.
"This is not a victimless crime since we all pay for it through higher insurance costs." The Task Force, consisting of investigators from the California Department of Insurance (CDI), the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, and the California Highway Patrol, has been operating since January, 2001.
It targets any form of organized auto insurance fraud including staged theft and vandalism rings, stage auto accidents rings, med-legal fraud mills, and other types of organized auto insurance fraud. On October 3, 2006, Amjad Javaid filed a claim with The Hartford Insurance Company for the alleged theft of his 2003 Range Rover. The Range Rover was recovered a few hours later in San Jose, California, completely burned.
The Javaids all made statements to Hartford that the Range Rover was stolen from in front of their residence, which was in Elk Grove at the time, during the afternoon hours of October 2, 2006, while the entire family was at the mosque. During the course of the investigation, investigators discovered that the Javaids allegedly made false statements as to their whereabouts on the day of the reported theft. Investigators obtained additional information that suggested the Javaid family may have been experiencing financial difficulties.
The insurance company ultimately denied Amjad Javaid's vehicle loss claim; had the company approved the claim, it would have paid approximately $50,000 for the loss. Last month, Commissioner Poizner announced an increase in the number of referrals for suspected fraud cases CDI receives from insurance companies, local law enforcement agencies and consumers. CDI saw an alarming 31 percent increase in suspected vehicle arson fraud cases in 2008 as compared with referred cases in 2007. (In 2007, CDI received 344 referrals for suspected automobile arson; in 2008, CDI received 451 referrals for suspected automobile arson.) Overall, the Department received almost 300 additional suspected vehicle theft and vehicle arson cases statewide in 2008 than in 2007. CDI received approximately 200 more suspected vehicle theft fraud case referrals in 2008 than in 2007. While the total number of suspected fraud case referrals received by CDI for all automobile fraud categories (including inflated damages, vandalism and hit and run,) has remained relatively constant since 2007, suspected vehicle arson and theft referrals have noticeably increased.