3 convicted in crackdown on auto insurance fraud
Update: Dale G. Cripps was granted a deferral of his no contest plea and Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario set a three-year period of deferral. After Cripps completed the three-year period with no violations in 2005, the court discharged him from court supervision and dismissed the insurance fraud charge.
By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer
An ongoing crackdown on automobile insurance fraud has resulted in the conviction of three people in recent months, state Insurance commissioner Wayne Metcalf said this week.
Former local jeweler Dale G. Cripps, 50, pleaded no contest to insurance fraud on April 23, and on July 3 was ordered to pay his insurance company $1,073 for time spent processing a fraudulent claim he filed on his 1970 Jaguar. Cripps also was ordered to pay $7,600 in state fines.
Metcalf said Cripps insured his car for $18,700, then reported it stolen from a used-car lot. An investigation found that Cripps was having trouble selling his car and hired someone to take it off the lot. The man he hired reported the matter to police, Metcalf said.
In another case, flight attendant Barbara Paladino was ordered on July 9 to pay $14,606 in restitution to GEICO Insurance for falsely reporting her 1995 Lexus SC400 stolen, Metcalf said.
He said Paladino, who was having trouble making payments on the car, gave a friend the key to an employee parking lot while gone for a week working on a flight to Australia. The friend took the car, but later told GEICO about the scheme and where the car could be found.
In the third case, a man who claimed he was injured in an auto accident was ordered July 16 to pay $2,149 in restitution to Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Majid Biabani claimed total disability wage loss benefits after being involved in a February 1998 collision, Metcalf said. During the nine months he received benefits, Biabani worked as a used-car salesman and cab driver.
Metcalf urged anyone with tips to call the automobile insurance fraud hotline at 587-7416.