Nine More Indicted in Nev. Fraud Scam

December 24, 2002

The Clark County Grand Jury has indicted the nine remaining defendants in the Guy Mitchell Sheets fraud case (See IJ West Web News, Dec. 19): Terri Denise Bragg, Rodney Bernard Winters, Basheba Peoples, Cedric Peoples, Exie May Flowers, Chalandos Renea Johnson, Trina Colette Smith, Touny Alain Crowe, and Salim Talib Elam.

All were involved in an insurance fraud scam against California State Automobile Association (CSAA) which netted approximately $180,300.00 in illegally obtained funds. Each faces felony counts of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, as well as felony counts of obtaining money under false pretenses. The Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) of the State Attorney General’s Office, has already charged the seven other participants.

In Aug. of 2000, while conducting a routine internal audit, the investigative firm of Bland & Rodarte discovered the fraud. Investigation with the IFU determined that Guy Mitchell Sheets, a regional supervisor with CSAA and licensed agent, along with one of his adjusters, Deborah Marie Bray, created at least 20 false claims. They “packed” or added phony claimants into legitimate claims; asserted claims on behalf of legitimate claimants without their knowledge or participation, then distributed the proceeds among the conspirators; they also created false automobile accident claims with the complicity of the policyholders for accidents that never actually occurred. Both Sheets and Bray recruited friends to accept these fraudulent proceeds.

Guy Mitchell Sheets, 38 of Henderson, was sentenced last week by Judge Hardcastle on two felony counts of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and obtaining money under false pretenses, and Sheets received 12 to 36 months in prison but this term of incarceration was suspended. Sheets was placed on probation for three years. He has already fulfilled his restitution obligation to CSAA of $63,000 and reimbursed the IFU $2,500 in investigative costs. He has cooperated with the IFU and had no prior criminal record.

Deborah Marie Bray is scheduled to be sentenced on similar charges in Jan. 2003. She also has cooperated with the IFU and had no prior criminal record. She too will be required to make restitution of $63,000 and reimburse the IFU $2,500 in investigative costs. James Mastel, Bonnie Patricia Catoni, Jamelyn Jubar Hughes, Zenobia Wong, and Marcus Kyle White have already been charged by the IFU, ranging from a single felony count of Conspiracy to Commit Insurance Fraud, to a gross misdemeanor of Attempt to Commit Insurance Fraud. Each accepted responsibility for their role when confronted by the IFU. Each will pay restitution to CSAA and reimburse the IFU investigative fees.

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