A Richmond man has been indicted on 113 charges of insurance fraud and a warrant has been issued for his arrest after California Department of Insurance investigators uncovered a scheme that involved setting fire to houses, destroying property and alleging theft. Five other people, also indicted, have already been arrested.
Investigators suspect Louis Houston, 49, was the ring leader and submitted more than 65 insurance claims involving property losses from 10 fires, 20 incidents of theft or vandalism, eight automobile accidents and six incidents of water damage.
A year-long investigation, in conjunction with the Contra Costa District Attorney's office, found Houston was actually in possession of items previously reported stolen or destroyed. Evidence revealed Houston and his partners-in-crime submitted fraudulent claims for personal injury, wage loss, and vehicle thefts. The suspects filed police reports and are said to have submitted documents to more than 13 insurance companies to support their fraudulent claims.
"Each and every one of us ends up paying higher premiums because of insurance fraud," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). CSLEA represents 7,000 law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the state of California, including investigators with the California Department of Insurance. "These investigators worked for months on this case which resulted in 435 charges in the indictment, including fraud, conspiracy, perjury and arson. That's a job well done. "
- Kimberly Burdeen-Tanner, 28, of Pittsburg
- Cedric Jackson, 29, of Fresno
- Crystal Robinson, 25, of Reno
- Jones Smith, 32, of Richmond
- Sadi Zeigler, 24, of Vallejo.