Organized Fraud Ring Aided By CHP Employee Gets Dismantled In SoCal

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The “large-scale” organized ring was engaged in multiple auto insurance schemes across the region, according to state officials.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — Fifteen Southern California residents, including a California Highway Patrol employee, are accused of being part of an organized crime ring that colluded to profit from fraudulent auto insurance claims, it was announced Friday.

The Inland Empire Automobile Insurance Task Force began the investigation in November 2022 after it was learned that CHP non-sworn employee Rosa Isela Santistevan, 55, of Irvine was illegally selling crash reports that contained personal information about people involved in wrecks across Southern California, according to Friday’s announcement from the California Department of Insurance.

The conspiracy began after ringleader Andre Angelo Reyes, 36, of Corona befriended Santistevan and other CHP employees by donating to various events and parties hosted by the state agency, according to the CDI.

The cozy relationship led to Santistevan illegally selling thousands of traffic reports to Reyes, who then gave the ill-gotten information to 26-year-old Pomona resident Esmeralda Parga. Parga would contact the people named in the reports, pretending to be from their insurance company, and coordinate having their vehicles towed to an “approved” repair center, the CDI alleged.

Tow truck drivers cooperated in the scheme by taking victims’ vehicles to CA Collision, owned by Anthony Gomez, 35, of Jurupa Valley. The shop would hold the vehicles hostage and demand cash payment from the victims’ insurance companies, CDI reported.

The crime ring even intentionally caused crashes. One of those wrecks was recorded on a defendant’s phone and discovered during a search warrant service, according to the state agency.

The 15 people allegedly involved in the scheme are charged with insurance fraud, grand theft by trick, and false impersonation. The charges involve 19 fraudulent claims resulting in a $353,035 loss, CDI reported. Twelve of the 15 suspects were arrested Thursday.

According to the CDI, the defendants include:

  • Andre Angelo Reyes, 36, of Corona; booked into Riverside County jail with bail set at $700,000.
  • Rosa Isela Santistevan, 55, of Irvine; booked into the Orange County jail with bail set at $700,000.
  • Esmeralda Parga, 26, of Pomona; booked into San Bernardino County jail with bail set at $700,000.
  • Anthony Gomez, 35, of Jurupa Valley; booked into San Bernardino County jail with bail set at $700,000.
  • Ezequiel Baltazar Orozco, 30, of Los Angeles; charged but not yet in custody.
  • Antonio Terrazas Perez Jr., 19, of Los Angeles; booked into San Bernardino County jail with bail set at $150,000.
  • Erika Garcia, 31, of Los Angeles; charged but not yet in custody.
  • Israel Avila Sandoval, 45, of Pomona; booked into San Bernardino County jail with bail set at $150,000.
  • Luis Alberto Ramirez Jr., 32, of San Bernardino; booked into San Bernardino County jail with bail set at $100,000.
  • Robert Arzac, 49, of West Covina; booked into the Orange County jail with bail set at $50,000.
  • Antonio Ramirez Perez, 44, of Los Angeles; booked into San Bernardino County jail with bail set at $350,000.
  • Brian Anthony Lopez, 25, of Anaheim (no booking information available
  • Emily Marie Boatman, 26, of Ontario; booked into San Bernardino County jail with bail set at $700,000.
  • Ricardo Parga Jr., 23, of Pomona; booked into San Bernardino County jail with bail set at $50,000.
  • Steven Anthony Alfaro, 38, of Buena Park; charged but not yet in custody.

The Inland Empire Automobile Insurance Task Force includes the California Department of Insurance, California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

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