Clark County Grand Jury indicts 24 in staged accident ring

Late last week, a Clark County Grand Jury 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.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt spoke exclusively with Contact 13 about the indictment. 

"Very important indictment. Important to send a message to these types of would be fraudsters," says Laxalt. "That staged accidents, we will not let these pass. And people are going to be prosecuted for them."

According to court records, defendants used high end vehicles such as a Lexus, Cadillac, a Lotus and an Aston Martin to carry out the alleged crimes. 

In those so called "staged accidents" the Attorney General says suspects use a variety of ways to get into a car crash, put the blame on other drivers, and collect insurance pay-outs for damages.

Insurance companies doled out $130,296 to claimants, according to the attorney general, and were demanding nearly $300,000 more. Insurance companies paid victims at least $47,163 and victims incurred out-of-pocket expenses of at least $22,000. 

A motion filed by the attorney general to set bail claims defendants compromised public safety.

"They are flat out greedy people who put the lives of others at risk so they could make a quick buck." 

The attorney general says nearly all of these staged accidents occurred on Nellis Boulevard where the speed limit is 45 mph. One elderly couple had to go to the hospital for injuries sustained in one of the accidents referred to in the indictment, according to the motion, and children were also passengers in victim vehicles. 

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, insurance fraud, theft in the amount of $3,500 or more and attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more. The incidents occurred between September 2014 and May 2017.
 
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.
 
As alleged in the indictment, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to stage no less than 19 automobile accidents and four thefts with the intent of fraudulently obtaining insurance benefits. Each defendant played a different role in the conspiracy. Some defendants are alleged to have provided the automobiles used to stage the accidents and thefts, driven the automobiles causing the accidents, or participated as a passenger, while others are alleged to have falsely claimed to have been the driver or passenger in order to maximize any insurance payout.

Below is description of the individual charges as listed in the indictment:
 
· Julio Caesar Gonzalez (56 counts): One count of racketeering, one count racketeering conspiracy, one count multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation, 17 counts of battery with a deadly weapon, 18 counts of insurance fraud, four counts of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more, and 14 counts of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Leandro Fonseca (19 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation, 8 counts of insurance fraud, 4 counts of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more, and four counts of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Juan Miguel Angel Dolores Jr. (8 counts): One count of racketeering, one count racketeering conspiracy, one count multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation, one count of battery with a deadly weapon, two counts of insurance fraud, one count of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Jacob Salazar-Morales (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Dorian Abner Inesa (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Eleuterio Morales Ramirez (5 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of battery with a deadly weapon, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Carlose Alberto Viera (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Jose de Jesus Nunez-Badillo (7 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation, two counts of insurance fraud, and two counts of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Yoel Arrastiarojas (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Anthony Robles (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Erick Garcia-Garcia (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Irma Yolanda Meraz-Rangel (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Lian Grave de Peralta Rosales (9 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the court of an enterprise or occupation, three counts of insurance fraud, and three counts of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Loipa Vuelta Arafet (7 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation, two counts of insurance fraud, and two counts of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Eduardo Duran Rosales (7 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation, two counts of insurance fraud, and two counts of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Jesus Nunez Aranda (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Eloisa Badillo Esparaza (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Lemay Oliver Monzon (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Arlene Manuela Hernandez (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Anilu Vianey Gonzalez (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Yelandis Penichet Vargas (7 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of multiple transactions involving fraud or deceit in the course of an enterprise or occupation, two counts of insurance fraud, and two counts of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Jessica Valdes Tarrio (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of attempted theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Edgar Betancourt Preval (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

· Jose Alejandro Betancourt (4 counts): One count of racketeering, one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of insurance fraud, and one count of theft in the amount of $3,500 or more.

The case is the largest multi-defendant indictment in the Nevada Attorney General's Office history, which is being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Unit. This Unit partnered with several insurance companies during the investigation and prosecution of this case. To view the indictment against the defendants, click here. Drivers who believe they are victims of a staged collision should report their suspicions to their respective insurance companies.

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