(Woodland, CA) - July 6, 2017 - District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that over the past week, there were three separate cases that resulted in convictions for auto insurance fraud.
In the first case, 27-year-old Davis woman, Shelene Hopp, was convicted of filing a false or fraudulent auto insurance claim. Hopp had been driving her 2008 Honda Fit on November 15, 2015, when she collided with a white 2003 Ford Expedition that had been parked in front of a Davis home. Following the collision, Hopp parked her Honda in the area, left the scene of the collision and returned home. Hopp failed to contact the owner of the Ford Expedition or report the collision to the Davis Police Department. A few hours after the collision, an Officer from the Davis Police Department contacted Hopp about her car. Hopp stated her Honda had been stolen and she knew nothing about the collision. Hopp then reported to her insurance carrier, USAA, that her Honda Fit had been stolen and involved in a hit-and-run collision. On December 8, 2015, Hopp spoke to USAA where she reported on a recorded phone call she had been the driver of the Honda Fit when she collided with the Ford Expedition on November 15, 2015. Hopp admitted she had lied to the Davis Police Department as well as to USAA insurance about the facts surrounding this incident. On October 21, 2016, Yolo County District Attorney Investigator Fitzgerald interviewed Hopp where she eventually admitted to filing a false police report to the Davis Police Department as well as a false insurance claim to USAA. Hopp pled no contest to the insurance fraud charge before the Honorable Daniel Maguire. Judge Maguire sentenced Hopp to three years probation, 30 days county jail, and a $800 restitution fine.
In the second case, 42-year-old Woodland man, Macario Carrillo, pled no contest to felony charges of filing a false or fraudulent auto insurance claim. On March 18, 2016, California Highway Patrol responded to a hit and run collision on State Route 16 west of County Road 98 in Woodland, CA. Upon arrival by officers they located Carrillo’s Chevy pickup truck left abandoned on scene. The victim of the hit and run collision stated he was driving on State Route 16 when a dark colored truck driven by Carrillo approached and drifted into his lane. Carrillo’s truck hit the bumper of the victim’s vehicle and fled the scene. When officers located Carrillo’s truck it had been left abandoned blocking State Route 16 at County Road 96. Carrillo’s truck had white paint transfer from striking the victims vehicle and the truck’s air bags had deployed. In the days following the collision, Carrillo reported his truck had been stolen to CHP and his insurance carrier CSAA. During an interview with Carrillo he denied any involvement in the hit and run, however, officers from CHP observed burn marks consistent with air bag deployment on his arms. During a follow-up interview with Carrillo, he ultimately admitted being involved in the hit and run collision as well as filing the false insurance claim. Carrillo pled no contest to the insurance fraud charge before the Honorable Daniel Maguire. He will be sentenced on August 10, 2017.
An finally, in the third case, 46-year-old Woodland man, Christopher Kelley, was convicted of filing a false or fraudulent auto insurance claim. On November 4, 2016, Christopher Kelley’s insurance policy with Geico Insurance had been cancelled. On November 9, 2016, Kelley had been involved in a collision while driving his 2016 Dodge Ram pickup in Woodland, CA. On November 10, 2016, Kelley obtained a new insurance policy with Progressive Insurance. Later that same day, Kelley spoke to Kemper Insurance, who had been the insurance carrier for the driver Kelley had been involved in the collision with, and provided a recorded statement to them regarding the events surrounding the collision. On November 17, 2016, Kelley reported to Progressive Insurance he had been out of town at the time his truck had been damaged at his residence. Kelley stated he did not know how his truck had been damaged and assumed an unknown person had driven into his driveway and hit his truck. Kelley later contacted a friend of his who advised him exactly what to tell Progressive Insurance when they interviewed him in regards to the damage to his truck. On April 18, 2017, Investigator Fitzgerald interviewed Kelley who admitted to obtaining the policy with Progressive after he had been involved in the collision due to the fact his policy with Geico had cancelled and he did not have valid insurance. Kelley further admitted to sending text messages to his friend and being advised about what to tell the insurance company about how and when his truck had been damaged. On July 5, 2017, Kelley pled no contest to the insurance fraud charge before the Honorable Judge Abel who sentenced Kelley to three years probation and over $900 in restitution and fines.
Insurance Fraud is the second most costly white-collar crime in America behind tax evasion. Insurance industry studies show that about ten percent or more of property/casualty claims are fraudulent. Add it all up and insurance fraud costs Americans billions of dollars each year. District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated that, “Filing false insurance claims and insurance fraud have an effect on the rising cost of auto insurance for everyone. We are committed to investigating and prosecuting this type of fraud in our community.”
If you suspect someone is committing Auto Insurance Fraud please contact the DA’s Fraud Hot Line phone number at (855) 496-5632. Reports of suspected fraud can also be made online at https://yoloda.org/fraud. The District Attorney’s Office also has a “Fraud Reporting E-mail Address”: Fraud@yoloda.org.