There must be easier ways to make a living than faking car accidents and submitting false insurance claims for those fake car accidents. It also sounds like a ton of work to set up fake chiropractic clinics to generate fraudulent medical records and bills to submit with those fake insurance claims. Stealing people's identities and submitting insurance claims for them also sounds both ill-advised and rather labor intensive. And stealing the identity of an Iraq war veteran just seems like terrible karma.
As it turns out, doing those things will also get you incarcerated, as one Fort Worth family learned this month. Who could have guessed?
On Tuesday, the last of four defendants were sentenced for their role in a convoluted collision scheme that authorities say netted them hundreds of thousands of dollars from several different insurance companies. After pleading guilty to mail fraud back in April, Kara Lashon Collins, 36, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, while her co-defendant Stephanie Denise Moses, 45, was sentenced to 12 months. Collins will also pay approximately $356,000 in restitution, while Moses was ordered to pay $95,000.
Earlier this month, Collins' husband got a much heftier sentence: Frenchitt Su-Dell Collins, 42, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison and ordered to pay approximately $700,000 in restitution. Meanwhile, Frenchitt Collins' half brother Alan Murray Robison, 32, was sentenced to 110 months and ordered to pay around $203,000. The men were convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and healthcare fraud, as well as conspiracy to tamper with witnesses for trying to force people to sign false affidavits during their trial. Frenchitt Collins also got hit with two charges of aggravated identity theft.
According to their lengthy indictment, issued in May 2011 but only recently unsealed, the four started running their scam back in 2006. They would recruit people to claim they'd been involved in auto accidents, then obtain insurance on the cars they'd be "driving" and the drivers themselves. The cars were salvage vehicles, which the indictment claims they would damage "in a manner other than a collision" (sledgehammer, perhaps?). Then, the defendants submitted insurance claims for those accidents by mail, hence their eventual mail fraud charges.
The four also created at least 12 fake chiropractic clinics, with names like First Call Chiropractic Injury Clinic and Prestige Rehab and Chiropractic. One settlement check submitted as evidence paid $4,124 to an outfit called 1st Stop Chiro Injury, whose only address was a post office box in Arlington. Other clinics had physical addresses, including one located in 6900 block of Belt Line Road in Dallas. That's in addition to the numerous other businesses the four had registered in their names, among them "One God Ministry," registered by Kara Collins, a totally legit-sounding faith-based operation that was also operating from a post office box.
Sometimes, the defendants skipped the part in which they recruited co-conspirators and just outright stole people's names and Social Security numbers. Then they'd submit false insurance claims in their names. According to the Department of Justice, the people whose identities they stole included an Iraq war veteran and school cafeteria worker.
Recruiting all those people to claim they'd been involved in car accidents came with one serious hitch: It created many, many witnesses who could testify against them, and were probably extremely motivated to do so to avoid serious jail time of their own. The four caught two additional charges after prosecutors learned they had approached at least two of those witnesses and asked them to sign affidavits filled with false information. Both witnesses said no, then turned those affidavits over to law enforcement.
To make matters worse, the married Collinses had discussions about the fake affidavits over the phone while the male Collins was incarcerated at the federal correctional institution in Seagoville awaiting his trial. Those calls, along with several other, equally incriminating ones between the defendants, were all recorded, transcribed and submitted into evidence.
Kara Collins was arrested at her home in Mansfield in May 2011. Three rifles and one pistol were also taken from the house, although the guns don't appear to have played any role in these crimes. At least they did that right.
Collins and Stephanie Moses are still free after being sentenced. They've been ordered to report to prison by January 3.