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Monday, 10 August 2015 20:46

NJ Couple Charged with Staging Car Accident, Seeking More Than $25,000 in Insurance Payouts

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) announced that an Essex County man and his former girlfriend were indicted on August 6 for allegedly orchestrating a staged automobile accident in Newark in 2012 and later seeking more than $25,000 in payouts for medical treatment from their insurer.

Jerry Previlon, 28, of Irvington and Yasmeen Louis, 21, of Union, were charged by a state grand jury with second-degree insurance fraud, second-degree conspiracy, third-degree attempted theft by deception and third-degree tampering with public records or information.

“The co-conspirators in this case allegedly sought to cheat their insurer by organizing a staged automobile accident that not only endangered their own well-being, but also that of any drivers, passengers or pedestrians who may have been nearby that day,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “Staged accidents are both a dangerous and costly con.”

“As insurance companies respond to staged accidents and pay out the claims associated with them, premiums for law abiding drivers will increase,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi. “Drivers cannot participate in a fair marketplace as long as criminals seek to defraud the insurance industry.”

According to the indictment, in September 2012, Louis was driving a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix, with Previlon riding in the passenger seat and two other individuals riding in the back when the car was struck by another vehicle in Newark. According to Louis’ sworn statement to OIFP investigators, the unidentified driver of the other vehicle, who Louis stated was an acquaintance of Previlon, then exited his vehicle, entered a third vehicle driven by another unidentified driver, and fled the scene of the accident. Over the next several months following the crash, Previlon and Louis each allegedly filed 28 claims that totaled approximately $25,100 with Liberty Mutual for various medical treatments at South Orange Trauma Center.

Louis admitted in her sworn statement that the accident was staged and that she had been directed by Previlon to the location of the accident. Additionally, she told investigators that Previlon had purchased the car approximately six weeks before the accident, but had directed her to sign the title in her name and had her insure the Pontiac with Liberty Mutual. According to Louis, Previlon also paid the premiums on the insurance policy through Louis by having her deposit the exact amount of the premium into a checking account. Previlon then allegedly explained to Louis that the Pontiac was going to be involved in an accident that he had planned, and told Louis that the accident would result in financial gain. Previlon also allegedly informed Louis that she would need to go to doctors and should see a lawyer for potential money through a lawsuit for injuries sustained in the accident.

Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000.

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