A 32-year-old West Sacramento woman has been convicted of filing a false insurance claim and providing false statements regarding a 2015 traffic collision, Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in announcing a joint investigation with the California Department Insurance.
According to Reisig, Alicia Hernandez was involved in a traffic collision in West Sacramento on June 2, 2015, and did not have auto insurance coverage for her Nissan Maxima. About two hours after the crash she purchased an insurance policy from Esurance, during which she made false statements regarding the collision in an effort to obtain coverage from her insurance claim, Reisig reported.
This strategy is often referred to as a “crash and buy” in the insurance industry, he said.
Hernandez later provided a recorded statement to Esurance stating that she purchased the policy a few hours before the collision. However, the insurance company already had a crash report from the West Sacramento Police Department and the recorded conversation from when Hernandez attempted to purchase her automobile insurance. The investigation showed that Hernandez’s version of the events, including her timeline, were suspicious and inconsistent.
Hernandez pleaded no contest to misdemeanor insurance fraud on March 23 and was sentenced by Yolo Superior Court Judge Daniel MaGuire to three years’ summary probation and 10 days in county jail. Hernandez also pleaded no contest to driving on a suspended license, receiving five days in county jail.
Purchasing an insurance policy after a collision has occurred and then reporting that a collision took place after the inception of the policy is a crime, Reisig said. Insurance fraud — comprising 10 percent or more of property/casualty claims — is the most costly white-collar crime in America behind tax evasion, costing Americans billions of dollars each year, he added.
“Everyone pays substantially higher insurance premiums because of the crooks who commit insurance fraud,” Reisig said. “We are committed to investigating and prosecuting this type of fraud in our community.”
If you suspect someone is committing auto insurance fraud, contact the DA’s Fraud Hotline at 855-496-5632. Reports of suspected fraud also can be made online at www.yoloda.org/fraud.htm or via email at [email protected]