The damage intentionally inflicted to the vehicle (seen above) to make it appear as though a hit-and-run accident occurred was so strong the side air bag inside the vehicle deployed.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Fontana man and woman were sentenced Friday for their role in a scheme to rip off insurance companies by staging a hit-and-run accident involving a 2015 Maserati.
Roger Mendoza, 50, was sentenced to 240 days in county jail, three years felony probation, and ordered to pay $12,937 in restitution to the Automobile Club of Southern California, after pleading guilty to felony insurance fraud.
Violeta Alcaraz, 38, was sentenced to 120 days in county jail and three years felony probation, after pleading guilty to felony insurance fraud and misdemeanor filing a false police report.
Statement of Facts
In May 2016, RM Capital—a used car dealership owned by Mendoza—purchased a damaged 2015 Maserati Ghibli for $39,750. An August 4, 2016 sales contract showed the Maserati being sold to Violeta Alcaraz for $63,000. On August 24, 2016, Ms. Alcaraz filed an insurance claim with the Automobile Club of Southern California reporting that another car struck the Maserati in an intersection and fled.
Insurance investigators suspected fraud after examining the Maserati and referred the matter to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit.
District Attorney Investigators discovered that the Maserati was parked at the time of the damage, not at an intersection as claimed, and was repeatedly struck with a heavy object that transferred house paint onto the Maserati.
Investigators concluded that Mendoza, who lived in the same home as Alcaraz, purchased the damaged Maserati.
According to Deputy District Attorney Tom Colclough, who prosecuted the case, the defendant then made cosmetic repairs to hide the damage without repairing it, created a fictitious sale to Alcaraz, deliberately damaged the Maserati, and falsely claimed the damage occurred in a hit-and-run event.