Branden Heywood, 30, of Chino, California 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 insurance payouts.
Accidents in a “paper collision” never occurred, and instead perpetrators use false documents to commit fraud.
The Inland Empire Auto Insurance Fraud Task Force investigation led by the California Department of Insurance reportedly found Heywood was using his identity and that of others, including the identities of his minors, to stage fake collisions by submitting fictitious medical records and then altered California Highway Patrol collision reports to insurance companies to collect insurance payouts.
The investigation also reportedly found Heywood 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 were charged with felony insurance fraud.
Heywood was also charged with possession of two assault weapons, which were seized from his residence by the task force during a search warrant.
Heywood remains in custody. Bail is set at $150,000. The case is being prosecuted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
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