12/17/2015 9:08:12 AM
MINNEAPOLIS – Following investigations by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has charged two separate criminal cases against individuals who filed fraudulent insurance claims after pretending to be injured in auto accidents. In both cases, surveillance video showed that the individuals were not, in fact, involved in the accidents.
“These two cases are outrageous examples of people who made fraudulent insurance claims, pretending to be injured in accidents they weren’t even involved in.” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “This kind of fraud doesn’t just cost insurance companies. It costs all of us as consumers. Our Commerce Fraud Bureau is taking action to investigate and stop these crimes.”
“While violent crime prosecution is a major focus of this office, we are happy to partner with the Department of Commerce to prosecute insurance fraud as well,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “We know this fraud is wrong and is an artificial inflator of insurance rates.”
According to the criminal complaints filed today:
Jemichael Leon McCoy, age 35, of Minneapolis, is charged with two felony counts of insurance fraud for filing false insurance claims for injuries he said he suffered as a pedestrian in an auto accident at the Aldi’s parking lot on Penn Avenue North in Minneapolis.
Store surveillance video shows a minivan backing out of a parking spot in front of the store and striking several vehicles. About 90 seconds later, McCoy walks toward the accident from a separate vehicle in the parking lot. As he approaches the accident, McCoy appears to start limping and eventually lies down near the last vehicle involved in the accident.
When police responded to the scene, McCoy demonstrated his alleged “injuries” in an animated fashion and he was taken by ambulance to North Memorial Hospital.
The next day, McCoy began to seek chiropractic and medical treatment. He subsequently filed benefit claims for his injuries with his own auto insurance company and the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident. He submitted billings for over $4,500.
In a separate case, Lashonda Marie Gail, age 30, of Minneapolis, is also charged with two felony counts of insurance fraud for filing insurance claims that falsely stated she suffered injuries when she was not actually involved in an auto accident.
Store surveillance video shows that an unidentified male with a red shirt parked Gail’s 2007 Chrysler Aspen SUV in the Family Dollar store parking lot on Lake Street in south Minneapolis. The man entered the store and then returned to the Chrysler. As he started to back out of his parking space, a 1999 Toyota Solara attempted to park in the next spot. Both vehicles collided with each other as the Chrysler was pulling out and the Toyota was pulling in.
The Chrysler driver told the Toyota driver that he did not have insurance and said he had to call his girlfriend. He left the scene in the Chrysler and returned a short time later.
According to surveillance video, Gail arrived at the scene in another car, picked up the Chrysler driver and left. She then returned to the parking lot on foot. When police arrived, Gail said she was the driver of the Chrysler at the time of the accident.
At the scene, she called the Toyota driver’s auto insurance company and stated she was the driver of the Chrysler. The next day she called her own auto insurance company and again stated she was the driver of the Chrysler. She also said she would be using an attorney.
Several days later, Gail’s insurance company received a notice of no-fault and underinsured motorist claim from Gail’s attorney. The Toyota driver’s insurance company also received a “Notice of Liability Claim” from the attorney, stating that Gail suffered injuries to her arms and lower back as a result of the accident and that she received medical treatment.
If you have a question or concern about possible insurance fraud, contact the Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).