​For release on May 22, 2012

CONTACT PERSON:
Charlotte Chang, Deputy District Attorney
Insurance Fraud Unit
(408)792-2974     CAR CRASH CON RING PROSECUTED FOR INSURANCE FRAUD   An ongoing investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has uncovered a band of scam artists who have defrauded insurance companies by staging a series of car accidents with faked injuries.
 
Charged with felony insurance fraud and grand theft, Teddy Marks, 41, of Morgan Hill, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is scheduled for plea in Santa Clara County Superior Court on May 25, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. in the South County courthouse. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.   “In real car crashes, people are often tragically hurt. In these fake accidents it is the residents of California who are being injured,’’ said Deputy District Attorney Charlotte Chang, who prosecutes these cases. “Insurance fraud directly affects each of us – the costs to the insurance companies are passed along to consumers through higher insurance premiums.”   In the latest scam, Marks pretended to have struck Louis “Skippy” Miller, 54, of New Jersey, with his car while texting and driving in the parking lot of Artichoke Joe’s Casino in San Bruno. Claiming he was injured by the negligent stranger, Miller went to three hospitals – in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Miller filed an insurance claim and got a $100,000 payout. Miller faces a $1 million arrest warrant. Investigators do not believe an accident occurred. The probe found that the men were hardly strangers.   Earlier this year, the two defendants’ sons, Alex Miller and Thomas Marks, were prosecuted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office for committing the same type of scam. They even took their fathers’ alleged roles: Marks’s son was the driver and Miller’s son was the “victim” in an accident that investigators believe never happened. In that case, Miller fraudulently got a $30,000 insurance payment. Alex Miller was also convicted for committing four other car crash cons with two other associates, Monica Ristick and Red Hawk, whose warrants remain outstanding. Hospitals and insurance companies lost more than $170,000 from these five staged collisions. Alex Miller’s wife, Danielle, was also prosecuted by Chang earlier this year for staging a car-pedestrian collision, after which she received a $15,000 insurance payout.   “This organized automobile insurance fraud ring has been put out of business,” said State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “I commend the excellent efforts and many hundreds of hours spent investigating by the members of the Urban Organized Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force.”   If anyone has any information on these cases or defendants, please call Santa Clara County District Attorney Investigator Dale Morgan at (408) 201-8808.   ###

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