Teddy Marks, 41, of Morgan Hill, Calif., who the California Department of Insurance is calling a “key figure” in an organized auto insurance fraud ring, has been arrested on two felony counts of insurance fraud and one felony count of grand theft, according to CDI.
Bail has been set at $1 million. If convicted, Marks could face up to five years in prison and $50,000 in fines for each insurance fraud count, and up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the grand theft count.
“This organized automobile insurance fraud ring has been put out of business,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “I commend the excellent efforts and many hundreds of hours spent investigating by the members of the Urban Organized Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force.”
The task force is comprised of CDI investigators, California Highway Patrol and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
A second suspect is outstanding and believed to be in New Jersey. Louis Miller, also known as “Skippy,” also has a $1 million arrest warrant issued by the Santa Clara County District Attorney. Miller has been charged with two felony counts of insurance fraud, three felony counts of burglary, and four felony counts of grand theft.
“Marks and Miller are believed to be the patriarchs of a criminal family that specializes in auto insurance fraud,” CDI said in a press release.
Marks’s son, Thomas Marks, and son-in-law, Eric Yonko, along with Miller’s son, Alex Miller and daughter-in-law Danielle Miller were arrested for similar charges last year arising from cases investigated by the Urban Organized Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force. Two additional subjects, Red Hawk, who also goes by “Randy George,” and Monica Ristick, who also goes by “Angelina Eli” are also still outstanding.
“Insurance fraud directly affects each of us-the costs to the insurance companies are passed along to consumers through higher insurance premiums,” Deputy District Attorney Charlotte Chang, who prosecuted these cases, said in a statement.
An investigation conducted by the Urban Organized Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force revealed that Marks, in collusion Miller, conducted a staged auto-versus-pedestrian collision in the parking lot of Artichoke Joe’s Casino in San Bruno, according to CDI.
During the claims process Marks and Miller denied knowing each other, and after the collision, Marks, the driver, and Miller, the pedestrian, proceeded to defraud the insurance carrier and three different hospitals in excess of $200,000, according to CDI.
At the time of his arrest Marks was in possession of two identification cards that identified him as a Bail Enforcement Agent and Fugitive Recovery Agent, while Marks was not licensed in California to act or conduct business as either, CDI states.
Marks was also in possession of a business card that identified him as a “Consulting Special Agent” for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while there has been no information verifying Marks’s authority to act as a federal agent, according to CDI.
This case is being prosecuted by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Additional assistance was provided by the Special Investigations Unit from the California State Automobile Association and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Alex Miller, Danielle Miller, Marks and Eric Yonko have all been convicted.