FROM: Amy Cornell, Public Information Officer   CONTACT: Stan Voyles, Deputy District Attorney (408) 792-2735   For release on August 4, 2008   RINGLEADER OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY’S LARGEST INSURANCE FRAUD SCAM SENTENCED TO 9 YEARS IN PRISON   A Santa Clara County judge sentenced 41-year old Khai Van Nhin to 9 years in state prison, the longest sentence given to an insurance fraud defendant in Santa Clara County history. He was also ordered to pay more than $127,000 in restitution to various insurance companies. Nhin was responsible for recruiting and directing members of an insurance fraud ring for several years. He was arrested in Seattle, Washington in Feburary. Nhin’s charges included multiple counts of presenting a false or fraudulent insurance claim and forgery.   Nhin’s insurance fraud ring members were responsible for fraud charges in thirty-one false claims between July 2002 and August 2005.  The ring members conspired to report auto accidents that never occurred in order to file false insurance claims.  The defendants would typically claim they were driving on a freeway when another vehicle changed lanes, striking the defendant’s car, and forcing him or her into a guard rail.  Both vehicles reportedly involved in the claim were usually owned and driven by the ring members.  They would file false vehicle damage claims and “cash out” the settlement, thereby taking the money but not repairing the vehicle.  They would then use the same damaged vehicle to make repetitive false claims with different insurance companies.  Often the driver and passengers would also submit false bodily injury claims as part of the phantom accidents in order to obtain additional insurance proceeds.   District Attorney Dolores Carr said, “Khai Van Nhin’s sentence should serve as a clear message - if you commit insurance fraud, expect to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”   "I am pleased to see the court putting this auto insurance fraud factory boss behind bars, where he belongs," stated California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. "I congratulate the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for a successful prosecution. My department is proud of its relationships at the local level as we work together to eliminate the $500 'fraud tax' every Californian pays to off-set insurance-related crimes."   The case, dubbed “Operation Cashout” was investigated by the Urban Organized Auto Fraud Task Force which consists of investigators from the California Department of Insurance’s Fraud Division, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the California Highway Patrol.  The initial investigation resulted from information from the Special Investigation Units of State Farm, Progressive, AAA, Hudson, Farmers, Safeco, Qestrel, David Morse and Associates, 21st Century, Western General and Western United Insurance Companies.   The case involved a total of 32 defendants, making it the largest case in terms of number of defendants in Santa Clara County history.   ###

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