MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A group of people are facing serious charges after authorities said they filed 45 separate insurance claims over the course of seven months for accidents that never took place and for repairs to cars that were never made.
One of the alleged ringleaders went before a Miami-Dade County judge Tuesday on accusations that he led a scheme to defraud Geico insurance out of more than $500,000.
Prosecutors said Sepp Tevini was leading the operation alongside Estevenson Dorval.
In all, 14 people were charged in connection with the fraud, including two Geico insurance adjusters, who prosecutors said were in on the act.
"It was really because of these four that over $530,000 were stolen in approximately five or six months," Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.
Investigators released photos of the same car that was used to file dozens of claims over the course of 2016 into early 2017. In each case, prosecutors said the participants used their policies to defraud or pose as accident victims.
"They worked for the company," Fernandez Rundle said. "They did have a license, each of them. With that license came Geico's checkbook, and with that checkbook is how they issued all that fraudulent money out to be paid."
Authorities said the insurance company eventually caught on and an investigation into the claims came back to auto repair shops that did not exist.
"This is an empty lot, and neither one of these are body shops and you can tell it's just a phony business location," Fernandez Rundle said.
All 14 people are facing a number of charges, including grand theft, insurance fraud and racketeering. Only one of them has yet to be arrested.