The ex-wife of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and her husband pleaded guilty Friday to an insurance fraud scheme in Costa Mesa and were sentenced to community service with Caltrans.
Michelle Marie Rodman-Demarco, 50, of Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of assisting others with making a false insurance claim, defense attorney Paul S. Meyer said. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dismissed three felony counts of making a false insurance claim and a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license.
“It was the right call for the (district attorney) to dismiss the felony against Michelle,” Meyer said. “She admitted to assisting Mr. Demarco and another person to meet and talk. No one ever alleged that she made a claim or received any payment. For her misdemeanor, she will do 20 days of community labor as a penalty. She is very sad about all of this, and will continue to do charitable work in the community.”
Dino Demarco, 56, of Yorba Linda, pleaded guilty to one felony count of making a false insurance claim, but he can petition the court in a year to have it reduced to a misdemeanor, according to his attorney, Ed Welbourn. Demarco was sentenced to 28 days of Caltrans service.
The case against co-defendant Audra Lee Plageman, 50, of Costa Mesa, was dismissed because she was a cooperating witness, Meyer and Welbourn said.
Rodman-Demarco could have faced seven years in prison had she had been convicted at trial of all the charges she initially faced.
The charges stemmed from an April 14, 2015, collision in Costa Mesa involving two vehicles driven by Plagemen and Rodman-Demarco, according to prosecutors, who said that neither motorist had auto insurance at the time.
The three defendants met six days after the crash in Costa Mesa to conspire to buy auto insurance and then file bogus claims alleging the collision happened after they got new policies, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Demarco filed false insurance claims with the Automobile Club of Southern California and Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., according to the District Attorney’s Office. He claimed a hit-and-run, but then had a different story in a claim with Progressive, alleging he was the driver and that the collision happened after he got insurance, prosecutors said.
Plageman was accused of telling Progressive that Demarco was the other driver in the collision, prosecutors said.
–City News Service
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