Crime - Sacto 911

Four men arrested in auto insurance fraud ring that allegedly collected $22k in Sacramento

Detectives from the California Department of Insurance last week arrested four men in connection with an auto insurance fraud ring that allegedly collected $22,000 by filing false insurance claims.

The ring consisted of owners and associates of Habib Auto Sales, Ocean Auto Sales and Rusul Auto Sales who purchased already-damaged vehicles from auctions and staged collisions or other incidents to collect fraudulent insurance payments, according to a news release.

Arrested last Tuesday were Ameer Almassou, 29, Bariq Aleyada, 33, and Ziad Jaber, 31. A fourth man, Muhamed El Gererey, 38, surrendered to authorities two days later

According to the news release, one suspect claimed that his 2015 Dodge was stolen and found burned. He reported the so-called theft to his insurer and stated that he bought the vehicle for $12,000 from his own auto dealership.

An investigation revealed the car was bought at an auto action and was already totaled, officials said.

In another incident, a suspect purchased a 2007 BMW with mechanical problems at an auto action. On that same day, he reported a solo vehicle collision to his insurance carrier and claimed to have bought the vehicle from a dealership. His insurer paid him approximately $9,295 for his alleged crash, the press release said.

Another suspect purchased a 2013 Mercedes from an auto action, and claimed to have had a three-vehicle collision just two hours after the purchase. He received an insurance payment of approximately $11,685.

The four suspects are now in custody at the Sacramento County Main Jail.

The case was investigated by the Sacramento Urban Auto Fraud Task Force, supervised by the California Department of Insurance Enforcement Branch.

Candice Wang, from Yale, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee interested in climate change, sustainability, socioeconomic inequality, and culture. She grew up in Connecticut.