“Kudos to the Inland Empire Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force for combing resources and expertise to uncover criminal activity that ends up costing consumers money in the form of higher premiums.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SAN BERNARDINO —On August 10, 2022, Branden Heywood, 30, of Chino, was arraigned on 39 felony counts of insurance fraud after an investigation found he allegedly acted as the leader of a “paper collision” ring to collect more than $80,000 in undeserved insurance payouts. In a “paper collision” a vehicle accident never occurred and perpetrators use false documents to commit fraud.
The Inland Empire Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force investigation led by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) found Heywood was allegedly using his identity and others’, including the identities of his minor children, to stage fake collisions by submitting fictitious medical records and altered California Highway Patrol collision reports to insurance companies in order to collect insurance payouts.
The Inland Empire Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force is made up of the California Department of Insurance, California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office and Riverside District Attorney’s Office.
The investigation also found Heywood allegedly recruited people on social media to say they had been passengers in the fake collisions. As a result, five additional suspects from the Inland Empire area have been charged with felony insurance fraud. Heywood is also charged with possession of two assault weapons, which were seized from his residence by the task force during a search warrant.
Heywood was arrested on August 9, 2022. This case is being prosecuted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.