3 men charged with staging freeway accidents for insurance money in Southern California

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Three men accused of staging 15 accidents connected freeways to bilk security companies successful Southern California past twelvemonth were charged this week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

The allegedly staged accidents near 21 radical injured, including 3 radical who had terrible injuries, Alex Karkanen, adjunct caput lawman for the District Attorney’s Automobile Insurance Fraud Division, said Tuesday, Aug. 31. The incidents happened from January to September 2020, mostly connected aggregate freeways successful Los Angeles County. One lawsuit progressive a clang successful Orange County.

“What drives maine brainsick is if you hap to beryllium driving connected the 405 Freeway that time wherever they determine to person an accident, you’re putting people’s lives astatine risk,” Karkanen said.

Typically, the 3 men would question unneurotic successful the aforesaid vehicle, but not successful each case, helium said. The operator would chopped successful beforehand of different conveyance and slam connected the breaks to origin the crash, according to Karkanen.

“They get an older car, they’re driving it connected the freeway and they chopped close successful beforehand of different vehicle,” helium said. “Usually, it’s commercial, sometimes not, but they’re looking for idiosyncratic they deliberation has insurance.”

One antheral had to flight retired of his burning conveyance aft 1 of the crashes and suffered from pain injuries, Karkanen said. Another antheral had his limb crushed and different had terrible backmost injuries from the staged accidents, helium said.

Some of the incidents happened successful the valleys connected the 405 and 101 freeways, successful summation to the 5 Freeway successful downtown Los Angeles, Karkanen said. Some were besides connected the 605 and 91 freeways.

A California Highway Patrol serviceman who precocious underwent grooming by the California Department of Insurance connected however to spot a imaginable staged mishap noticed immoderate of the informing signs successful 1 of the aboriginal incidents, Karkanen said.

Charges were filed Monday against Eduardo Retana, 25, Ausencio Gomez, 46, and Victor Valle-Diaz, 55, each from Los Angeles.

Retana was facing 11 counts of battle with a deadly limb and 10 counts of security fraud; Gomez was charged with 10 counts of battle with a deadly limb and 9 counts of security fraud; and Valle-Diaz was charged with 8 counts of battle with a deadly limb and 4 counts of security fraud.

The 3 men were accused of defrauding security companies of astir $330,000, the District Attorney’s bureau said.

Staged accidents hap reasonably often, but Karkanen said it’s antithetic for this to hap connected the freeway. Committing specified crimes connected a freeway is horrifically dangerous, helium added.

If idiosyncratic had died due to the fact that of the staged accidents, Karkanen said they would person apt faced execution charges.

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