LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – On Thursday, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced that three more defendants, previously charged in a 24 defendant staged-accident insurance fraud ring, each pleaded guilty in court Thursday morning for their roles in the case. The defendants include: 39 year old Julio Caesar Gonzalez of Las Vegas, 34 year old Lian Grave de Peralta Rosales of Las Vegas and 29 year old Loipa Vuelta Arafet of Las Vegas. Defendant Gonzalez pleaded guilty to one count of Insurance Fraud, a category “D” felony, Multiple Transactions Involving Fraud or Deceit in the Course of an Enterprise or Occupation, a category “B” felony, and Conspiracy to Commit Insurance Fraud, a gross misdemeanor. The remaing two defendants each pleaded guilty to one count of insurance fraud, a category “D” felony. In total, 8 defendants have pleaded guilty to felonies related to this case.
In September of 2017, these defendants, along with 19 others, were indicted by a Clark County Grand Jury on 68 felony counts. The indictment represents the largest multi-defendant indictment in Nevada Attorney General history. As alleged in the original indictment, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to stage no less than 19 automobile accidents and four thefts with the intent to fraudulently obtain insurance benefits. Each defendant played a different role in the conspiracy. Some defendants are alleged to have provided the cars used to stage the accidents and thefts, driven the cars causing the accidents, or participated as a passenger, while others are alleged to have falsely claimed to have been the driver or passenger in order to maximize any insurance payout. In total, the defendants filed 23 fraudulent insurance claims related to these accidents and thefts.
“Those who stage car accidents as part of a scheme to defraud insurance companies not only commit financial crimes against insurers and their customers, but also against innocent drivers endangered by their reckless actions,” said Laxalt. “I continue to be proud of my Insurance Fraud Unit for ensuring that those who attempt to defraud companies for their own benefit receive justice,” said Laxalt.
The terms of the plea agreements reached with these three defendants reflect their relative culpability in relation to the overall scheme, as well as their early acceptance of responsibility for their actions. On February 8, 2018, five additional defendants who were charged in this matter pleaded guilty to felony charges. As to the other nine defendants who have appeared in this matter, a trial is scheduled to commence on November 13, 2018.
The Eighth Judicial District Court has issued arrest warrants for the remaining seven defendants, many of whom are suspected to have fled the country after learning that they were suspects in this case. The following defendants remain at large: Leandro Fonseca, Jose de Jesus Nunez-Badillo, Erick Garci-Garcia, Irma Yolanda Meraz-Rangel, Jesus Nunez Aranda, Eloisa Badillo Esparza, and Anilu Vianehy Gonzalez. To report information regarding their whereabouts, please call 702-486-3214.
Multiple Transactions Involving Fraud or Deceit in the Course of an Enterprise or Occupation is punishable by up to 20 years of prison and a ine of nor more than $10,000. Insurance Fraud is punishable by up to four years of jail and a fine of no more than $5,000. Conspiracy to Commit Insurance Fraud is punishable by a jail term of up to 364 days and a fine of no more than $10,000. The sentencing hearing for Julio Caesar Gonzalez is scheduled for April 19, 2018, and the sentencing hearings for Lian Grave de Peralta Rosales and loipa Vuelta Arafet are scheduled for June 28, 2018. These hearings will take place in the Eighth Judicial District Court. The sentencing hearings for the five defendants who previously pleaded guilty in this matter are scheduled for May 17, 2018 in the same court.