Two Valley residents suspected of leading an insurance fraud ring were arrested Thursday along with 13 others for allegedly staging auto collisions and filing for half a million dollars in bogus claims.
Edwin Bautista, 41, of Sylmar, and Luis Bautista, 32, of Pacoima, were accused of filing nearly 18 fraudulent auto insurance claims within the past two years, with the help of 27 accomplices.
The 15 suspects were arrested by detectives from the Fraud Enforcement Division of the state Department of Insurance and placed in the Los Angeles County Jail. Four are still being sought and an additional 10 have arranged to surrender, according to the state Department of Insurance.
The suspects would intentionally crash cars, fake injuries and file fraudulent insurance claims for cash, the department said. Nearly a dozen companies, including Farmers Insurance Group in Woodland Hills, paid more than $235,000 in total claims before the activities were uncovered.
“Insurance fraud is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise in California and Los Angeles is ground zero in our battle to combat these crimes,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in a statement.