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Crash for Cash

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 18 Issue: 11 Dated: (November 1994) Pages: 36-39
I W Fisk
Date Published
4 pages
This article first describes various types of staged vehicular accidents and suggests how police officers who investigate traffic accidents can detect these types of fraud.
The general scenario for a staged vehicular accident to obtain fraudulent insurance money is for ring members to size up potential victims; the suspects then set up an unavoidable collision of some type. The suspects often call for a police report and may report soft tissue injuries but insist on going to their own doctors. Corrupt body shop owners, working with the suspects, will often inflate damage or repair estimates. Corrupt health-care providers exaggerate and falsify medical treatments. Corrupt attorneys file personal injury suits against the insured, and the claims money is pocketed by the ring members. In assessing the likelihood that a traffic accident has been staged, the investigating officers should observe and determine the age and condition of each car (most rings use older cars as crash vehicles). Other important facts are the number of people in the car that was struck, whether the body damage is fresh, whether all of the drivers and passengers come from the same neighborhood, whether participants are from the same ethnic group, and the consistency of the physical evidence with the story as to what happened.