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Thursday, 23 August 2012 18:10

Bay Area Men Charged with 90 Felonies in Elaborate Insurance Fraud, Theft and Arson

Two Fresno, CA, men will stand trial after allegedly operating a fraud ring that siphoned more than $600,000 from insurers.

Detectives believe that Louis Houston, 48, and Cedric Berdell Jackson Jr, 28, served as perpetrators in the filing of a variety of bogus insurance claims dating back to 2000. Their extensive scheme involved filing loss claims for traffic collisions, stolen vehicles, vehicle vandalism, vehicle fires, residential fires, and even water damage. Over the course of a year-long investigation by the California Department of Insurance (CDI), authorities learned Houston and Jackson filed more than 50 claims since 2007, and more than 165 loss claims since 2000.

On July 26, 2012, the CDI and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office served multiple search and arrest warrants for insurance fraud, burglary, and conspiracy. In procuring evidence that led to felony charges and the suspects’ arrests, investigators received assistance from Geico, Allstate, Balboa, Homesite, Farmers, 21st Century, Travelers, RepWest, Nationwide, AAA Insurance Exchange, Assurant, MetLife, and Safeco, along with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

“Detectives from CDI along with investigators and the prosecutors from the District Attorney’s office worked arduously to bring these suspects to justice,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Their tireless efforts have stopped these suspects from allegedly stealing from additional consumers and ripping off insurers, which often leads to higher premiums for Californians.”

Investigators are now attempting to calculate the amount of loss to the insurance industry as a result of these alleged fraud schemes. The estimated loss, which contains both real and potential amounts, is believed to be between $400,000 and $600,000 and may even be higher.

The Contra County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case. The court has set bail for Houston at $1,865,000, and $620,000 for Jackson.

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