An ongoing investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has led to four arrests after uncovering a band of scam artists who have defrauded insurance companies by staging a series of car accidents with faked injuries, including one in front of .
Most recently, investigators charged Teddy Marks, 41, of Morgan Hill with felony insurance fraud and grand theft. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is scheduled to enter a plea in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Friday. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.
“In real car crashes, people are often tragically hurt. In these fake accidents it is the residents of California who are being injured,’’ Deputy District Attorney Charlotte Chang, said in a statement. “Insurance fraud directly affects each of us—the costs to the insurance companies are passed along to consumers through higher insurance premiums.”
In the latest incident, Marks pretended to have struck Louis “Skippy” Miller, 54, of New Jersey, with his car while texting and driving in the parking lot of Artichoke Joe’s. Claiming he was injured by the negligent stranger, Miller went to three hospitals—in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
Miller filed an insurance claim and got a $100,000 payout. Miller faces a $1 million arrest warrant, according to the Santa Clara district attorney's office. Investigators do not believe an accident occurred, Chang said.
The others who have been arrested are the two defendants’ sons, Alex Miller and Thomas Marks, and Alex Miller’s wife, Danielle. All three were convicted for their scams.
Alex Miller was also convicted for committing four other car crash scams with two other associates, Monica Ristick and Red Hawk, whose warrants remain outstanding, according to the district attorney's office.
Hospitals and insurance companies lost more than $170,000 from these five staged collisions, Chang said.