Staged Accident Caught on Security Cameras, Staged Accidents — By Trace America on January 30, 2012 at 3:13 PM
With the way the economy is now, one type of insurance fraud is quickly becoming the most prevalent. It is a crash for cash kind of scam, where scam artists stage car crashes in order to obtain the insurance money.
Through an investigation by CBS News, we can see the footage from a business’s security camera in Tampa, FL that captured one of these “accidents,” which involves an SUV slamming into a car.
If you rewind the tape however, you see that the car was actually driven out into the middle of the street, the driver got out so the car could be hit, and five people then climbed into the damaged vehicle. Smile for the camera!
Each passenger later claimed to be injured to rip off their car insurance company, even though all they got was a set a handcuffs and a staged accident conviction.
Ron Poindexter, the Florida director for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, said, “It’s a big problem nationally. In Florida it’s a huge, growing problem that’s out of control.”
As of today, 12 states have what’s known as no-fault auto insurance, which means that no matter who’s at fault, everyone who was hurt in a car accident is entitled to insurance money. In Florida, it’s up to $10,000 per person, and up to $50,000 in New York.
“First of all you gotta recruit people,” stated a former scammer. “You have to look around for people who wanna do car accidents. And then you have to ask them if they wanna be the hitter or the one [who's] hit [by the] car in front.”
“The hitter or the one that’s getting hit,” asked CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian.
Here’s how the scam happens: Organizers who own bogus medical clinics run the scam. They hire recruiters who find people willing to stage accidents for money.
The people involved are then taken to the bogus clinics. An undercover video, shot by Florida State investigators, shows what typically happens next. Here, an investigator posing as an accident “victim” was told to sign one insurance form after another for medical treatment he’ll never receive. He was then paid $700 in cash for faking the accident and an injury.
The former scammer stated, “It’s easy money like that. And it’s a lot of money.”
“Is it always the same thing, is it a back problem?” asked Keteyian.
“That’s why it’s so easy. No matter what you do, you’re gonna have a back problem.”
Investigators state that crooked clinic owners can rake in as much as $2 million a year in phony billings. Even unethical doctors, lawyers and massage therapists can be involved, and they all get a cut.
“What’s changed with this kind of no-fault fraud?” Keteyian asked Poindexter.
“The recession and economy have created sort of a cottage industry to a point where they’re actually stealing thousands and tens of thousands of dollars and they’re not treating or seeing any patients.”
In Florida alone last year, and due in a huge way to the staged crashes, the insurance industry added an estimated $650 million to the cost of auto insurance.
This post is authored by Trace America.