12 Arrested in $350K Auto Insurance Fraud Scheme

Authorities began investigating after finding an employee of the California Highway Patrol was selling traffic collision reports to the fraud ring's leader.

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A dozen Southern California residents were arrested May 9 for allegedly participating in a scheme to defraud auto insurance companies out of more than $350,000.

The Inland Empire Automobile Insurance Task Force, which led the investigation, said the suspects -- part of a larger 15-member fraud ring -- were all charged with insurance fraud, grand theft by trick, and false impersonation.

The task force began its investigation in November 2022 after discovering Rosa Isela Santistevan, a non-sworn employee of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), was unlawfully selling traffic collision report face pages containing personal information of collision victims. Santistevan, 55, of Irvine, CA, is accused of printing and selling thousands of these reports to the ring's ringleader, Andre Angelo Reyes, 36, of Corona, CA.

Reyes allegedly provided these reports to Esmeralda Parga, 26, of Pomona, CA, who would then contact collision victims under the guise of being from their insurance company. Parga coordinated the towing of these vehicles to CA Collision, a repair center owned by Anthony Gomez, 35, of Jurupa Valley, CA. Once at CA Collision, the vehicles were held hostage, with the fraudsters demanding cash payments from insurance companies for their release.

The investigation, which involved the California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office and Riverside County District Attorney's Office, revealed the ring was also engaged in orchestrating collusive collisions. Evidence included a video showing the intentional crashing of a BMW sedan into a Polaris Slingshot, with defendants then falsely claiming two separate freeway accidents.

In addition to Santistevan, Reyes, Parga and Gomez, those arrested include: Ezequiel Baltazar Orozco, 30, Antonio Terrazas Perez Jr., 19, Erika Garcia, 31, and Antonio Ramirez Perez, 44, all of Los Angeles; Israel Avila Sandoval, 45, and Ricardo Parga Jr., 23, of Pomona; Luis Alberto Ramirez Jr., 32, of San Bernardino; Robert Arzac, 49, of West Covina; Brian Anthony Lopez, 25, of Anaheim; Emily Marie Boatman, 26, of Ontario; and Steven Anthony Alfaro, 38, of Buena Park.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office will prosecute the case. The task force seized more than 3,500 CHP traffic collision report face pages and uncovered significant evidence during numerous search warrants, leading to the arrests and charges.

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