Colleton County Fire-Rescue

11/13/2008

From S.C. Insurance News Service Website:
11th Conviction for Staged Auto Wrecks in Lowcountry in Past Three Months
November 13, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Allison Dean Love
803-252-3455 or cell phone 803-413-1044
alove@scinsnews.com

Case Falls on Insurance Fraud Awareness Week

Columbia, S.C. November 13, 2008 On Monday, November 10, 2008, Defendant Rasheed Suquan Fair, 22, of 189 Beach Road, Apartment F-8, Walterboro, pled guilty to the lesser-included offense of Presenting False Claims for Payment more than $1,000 but less than $5,000 before the Honorable John C. Hayes in Colleton County. Fair was originally indicted with Presenting False Claims for Payment, $5,000 or more.

Defendant Fair presented false claims totaling over $12,000 to Peak Property and Casualty Company by reporting that he was involved in a car accident on Round O Road in Walterboro on February 18, 2007. He claimed that the driver wrecked after swerving to miss a wild hog in the road, but investigation revealed that the wreck had been staged. Defendant Fair had a prior conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia and was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended to two years probation. Judge Hayes also ordered him to pay restitution of $655 to Colleton County Fire-Rescue. Two co-defendants involved in this wreck, Lynell Denise Manigo and Jasmine Shantaye Fair pled guilty previously on October 8.

A fourth defendant pled guilty on October 8 to the same charge involving a different auto wreck. Another six defendants pled guilty on September 18 to the same charge involving three more staged wrecks. An eleventh defendant was found guilty on September 17 after staging a wreck.

All of the cases were investigated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The South Carolina Insurance News Service reports a few interesting facts related to insurance fraud:

► Insurance fraud costs nearly $120 billion a year, with healthcare fraud at $85 billion a year and property and casualty insurance fraud at $30 billion a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
► Each year consumers spend about $300 per household just in additional insurance premiums, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau and about $1,000 in total increased insurance premiums, taxes and cost of goods and services according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

► There were 712 complaints of insurance fraud reported to the South Carolina Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Division in 2007. There were 94 criminal convictions and 72 civil remedies.

► The total amount of insurance fraud reported to the South Carolina Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Division in 2007 was nearly $8.4 million.

► Cases have come from all around the state of South Carolina and break down by region as follows:

 Piedmont - 28% (115)
 Low Country - 24.5% (100)
 Pee Dee - 24.5% (100)
 Midlands - 23% (95)

► The South Carolina Insurance Fraud Hotline (1-888-95-FRAUD) is available toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

► Insurance fraud can be "hard" or "soft." Hard fraud occurs when someone deliberately fakes an accident, injury, theft, arson or other loss to collect insurance money illegally. Soft fraud occurs when someone inflates a claim or underestimates the number of miles driven on an insurance application.

Report Insurance Fraud to the South Carolina Insurance Fraud Hotline 1-888-95-FRAUD - All reports remain confidential.

For more information on insurance fraud in South Carolina or for an interview call 803-252-3455 or e-mail alove@scinsnews.com.

For more than 30 years, the South Carolina Insurance News Service, a nonprofit organization, has been providing free insurance information to consumers and the media about property and casualty insurance issues. The News Service is funded by insurance companies doing business in South Carolina.

South Carolina Insurance News Service
1301 Gervais Street, Suite 715
Columbia, SC 29201
Office: 803-252-3455
Fax: 803-779-0189
www.scinsnews.com
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