A Washington State man, on the lam for four years and wanted in connection with $6 million in auto insurance fraud schemes and staged accidents across the country, has been arrested in Florida.
The U.S. Marshals Service reported that William Oldham Mize, the alleged leader of a wide-ranging fraud ring and the subject of articles in New York Magazine and other national publications, was taken into custody at a marina where he may have been living.
Mize, now 62, disappeared in 2019, just before a court appearance in Spokane, Washington, following his indictment on multiple fraud charges, the Marshals service said. The service did not say what led to Mize’s arrest, but Marshals in 2019 posted a $10,000 reward for information about him.
“Known to have access to large sums of money and knowledge of creating and using false identities, Mize stayed on the run until the U.S. Marshals recently developed a lead indicating he was still living life on the water, finally locating and arresting him at a marina in Jacksonville, Florida,” the Marshals service said in a statement late Tuesday.
He was arrested without incident, was booked into a county jail in Florida, and will be extradited to Washington State for prosecution.
Mize is accused of staging numerous well-planned auto crashes, falls and other accidents in several states, going so far as to cut his alleged co-conspirators with a razor, break their bones, slam them in the head with a frying pan, and spray actual blood inside a vehicle, according to news reports and law enforcement. Insurers paid out more than $6 million after the staged accidents, for property damage and medical bills, authorities said.
He was born in Texas but grew up in San Francisco, New York Magazine wrote about him. Later, he would come to be known for a lavish lifestyle, with luxury cars and boats, the article noted. Mize used many aliases, including Phillip Novak, Phillip Gonzalez, Phillip Boito, Bill Babaian, Bill Park, William Park, William Talento, William Westfall, Phillip Amezcua, and Phillip Smith, the Marshals service said.
“William Mize was a fugitive who thought that because he had financial means, he could avoid apprehension and flout the rule of law,” Craig Thayer, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Washington, said in a statement. “As evidenced, this is clearly not the case.”
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