LOS ANGELES— Zandra Monterrozo, 44, of Corona, pleaded guilty and on February 19, 2021 was sentenced for her involvement in an organized ring that intentionally staged vehicle collisions in order to collect more than $135,000 in undeserved insurance payouts. Eleven other suspects have been either charged or prosecuted.
“Staged vehicle collisions put innocent people at risk and cost all of us money in higher premiums,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Thank you to the insurance investigators and other investigating agencies who recognize this type of fraud when they see it,”
Monterrozo was sentenced for one felony count of insurance fraud, paid $6,000 in restitution and was ordered to serve one year of probation.
The Los Angeles Insurance Fraud Task Force, comprised of California Department of Insurance detectives and California Highway Patrol investigators, began this investigation after stopping at a suspicious vehicle collision, which was determined to be staged and involved a scheme called the “sudden stop.” The collision resulted in serious bodily injury.
A sudden stop collision is when one car intentionally brakes quickly, for no apparent reason, giving the driver behind them little time to react and causing a rear-end collision.
The investigation revealed that the suspects were involved in eight innocent victim staged vehicle collisions and two collusive vehicle collisions resulting in a $137,832 loss to victims and various insurance carriers.
The suspects utilized identity theft, a capper, an insurance broker, auto body shops, medical providers, and law offices to carry out their scheme.
These types of staged crashes are most often perpetrated by organized rings. Stagers target high-value vehicles such as commercial vehicles, expensive luxury vehicles, and vehicles owned by cities or counties. These vehicles are targeted because there is a virtual guarantee of insurance coverage. Los Angeles makes up nearly 43 percent of all auto-related insurance fraud in California.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.
CDI List of additional suspects:
- Bethuel Guevara Aguirre, 39
- Monica Elizabeth Sosa Alonzo, 39
- Baudilio Enrique Noguera, 49
- Juan Venancio Juarez Miranda, 49
- Carlos Enrique Lopez, 56
- Emma Amparo Lemus Martinez, 59
- Osmar Fernando Lopez, 40
- Alfonso Leon Baltazar, 51
- Mario Renee Alonzo, 67
- Marcos Farias, 70
- Walter Chacon, 31