Auto insurance fraud case heads to court Friday

Nine of the 38 are scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court in Greenfield

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Thirty-eight people are facing hundreds of indictments accused of participating in an alleged insurance fraud ring. 22News found out the crime they’re accused of isn’t common in our area.

“I was surprised by it, it’s a larger scheme then you’d expect happening,” said Bill Trudeau with the Insurance Center of New England.

Trudeau says as long as there’s insurance, there’s fraud, but this latest alleged operation is bigger than your usual case. “There are some people who fib about where their car is garaged and have things mailed to another house, but it’s a lot to go through and you potentially risk not having coverage at the time yuou need it most.”

Thirty-eight people, primarily in the NYC area, are accused of insuring or registering their vehicles using false or non-existent addresses in Easthampton, Greenfield and Northampton in order to avoid paying higher insurance premiums that come with living the city.

“I don’t think it’s fair I mean if they’re not living in Easthampton or these areas, they should not have the privilege of having those rates. If they’re in new york city they need to pay the insurance premiums there,” said Easthampton’s Lisa Storey.

Hampshire and Franklin grand juries returned a total of 289 indictments against the 38 people following a year-long investigation. Investigators say this scheme went on for about 6 years and over that time the suspects saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance premiums.

“There’s always folks out there looking for a quick buck and this might be a way to do that,” said Easthampton’s James Morgan.

Nine of the 38 are scheduled to be arraigned on fraud, perjury and conspiracy charges in Superior Court in Greenfield Friday. The arraignment is scheduled for 2 pm tomorrow afternoon in Franklin County Superior Court.

22News will have developments both on air and online.

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