Accident Ring Was Obvious, U-Haul Says

     BROOKLYN (CN) – Insurance cheats rented U-Hauls and staged at least eight phony accidents to get insurance money, U-Haul and the insurer claim in court.
     RepWest Insurance Co. and U-Haul outlets in three states sued lead defendant Rolanda Alston and dozens of others, in Kings County Supreme Court.
     U-Haul and the insurer claim the ring of defendants staged at least eight rear-end crashes between December 2009 and July 2010.
     The phony crashes followed a pattern, the plaintiffs say in their lengthy complaint.
     All the crashes were in Queens County, between 6 and 9 p.m., usually on the day the vehicles were rented.
     There were always two people in the U-Haul, all of which had been rented from one of two facilities: St. Albans and High Speed Rental Centers.
     Six of the renters had taken out special million-dollar policies from U-Haul.
     All of the occupants of the vehicles were treated at one of two facilities: Metar Medical or ZSA Medical Care, two of dozens of “providers defendants,” according to the complaint.
     One defendant admitted he was promised $500 to stage a collision in December 2009, but said he just tapped the vehicle because he didn’t want to hurt anyone, according to the complaint. This defendant said he was “told to go for medical treatment, although he stopped because he knew it was wrong.” He also testified that he knew some of the occupants of the vehicle he hit, according to the complaint.
     A second defendant testified that he was promised $800 to stage a crash in January 2010, and that “he decided to stage the accident to help out his grandmother who was getting evicted from her home,” the insurer says in the complaint.
     He said he was told “exactly what the adverse vehicle would look like, including make and model, as well as where to stage the collision,” the complaint states.
     U-Haul and the insurer seek reimbursement of at least $589,000 for the total combined amounts of no-fault, bodily injury and property damage complaints.
     They are represented by Evan W. Klestzick with McDonnell & Adels, of Garden City, N.Y.

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