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5 SoCal Residents Arrested for Fake Hit-and-Run Accident

Southern California – In a surprising turn of events, investigators have uncovered that security footage from a residence played a crucial role in thwarting a carefully orchestrated plan. The goal: is to simulate a car crash and pass it off as a hit-and-run, all in hopes of securing an insurance claim for the staggering sum of $30,000.

The California Department of Insurance has revealed security footage that led to the arrest of five Southern California residents for a fake hit-and-run accident. They all now face charges of fraud related to an alleged crash that occurred in September 2021 in Ontario.

The video in question depicts a medium-sized, light-colored SUV coming to a halt in the middle of an intersection. The driver exits the vehicle and walks out of the frame to safety. Within seconds, another medium-sized dark-colored SUV speeds into the first vehicle. The driver of the latter calmly exits the scene and follows the same direction as the driver of the first vehicle.

Authorities report that both drivers fled the scene. However, the plot thickens when a woman at the scene calls the Ontario Police Department, claiming to be the victim of a hit-and-run. Witnesses, however, informed the police that the woman arrived after the crash.

The Inland Empire Automobile Insurance Fraud Task Force launched a thorough investigation, composed of agents from various local law enforcement agencies. The result was revealing: home security footage demonstrated that the crash was premeditated.

Through the investigation, five individuals involved in the scheme to file a fraudulent insurance claim that could have amounted to $30,000 were identified. The detainees were named as accomplices instead of receiving the alleged cash payout.

The implicated individuals are Priscilla Carmona Arajo, 29, of Fontana; Juan Barajas, 25, of Upland; Gabriella Cervantes, 52, of Rancho Cucamonga; Roberto Carlos Macías, 40, of Chino; and Humberto Ortiz, 32, of Ontario.

Macías and Ortiz were identified as the alleged drivers who fled the scene, while Carmona Arajo was identified as the woman who claimed to be the hit-and-run victim. Barajas and Cervantes, registered owners of one of the vehicles, face charges for filing false police reports.

All involved were arrested in January, and they are expected to face charges for fraudulently filing an insurance claim, with a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is handling the case.

The California Department of Insurance emphasizes the importance of being vigilant against similar schemes. Although fortunately, no innocent drivers were victimized in this particular case, staged collisions are a reality. The office of Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara advises drivers to document all possible information, take photos and videos, and insist on filing a police report identifying all involved parties.

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