An insurance adjuster has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison and ordered to pay nearly $700,000 in restitution to a half-dozen insurance companies for his role in what prosecutors described Wednesday as a staged auto collision ring.
Erwin Raul Mejia, who was previously convicted of insurance fraud in 2005, pleaded guilty last Friday to 10 felony counts of insurance fraud in two separate cases, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Mejia, 42, had worked for three of the six insurance companies to which he was ordered to pay restitution, according to prosecutors, who said he played an integral role in a staged auto collision ring that obtained insurance policies with the intent to submit fraudulent bodily injury, vandalism and property damage claims.
Mejia was charged along with 26 other people who were allegedly involved in the ring.
Nine of those defendants have pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and gotten sentences of up to two years in county jail along with being ordered to pay a combined restitution of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The other defendants — who are awaiting a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial — include Melvin Galang Dungca, 47, whom prosecutors allege was the so-called “capper” who recruited businesses and individuals to take part in the alleged ring; and Edgar Omar Estrada Romero, a 39-year-old auto body shop owner charged with 35 felony counts of insurance fraud, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
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