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Nevada AG backs bill stiffening penalties for staging crashes

February 15, 2017, Carson City, NV — Insurance fraud rings that stage traffic crashes to shake down drivers have drawn the attention of the Nevada attorney general’s office.

The office is backing a bill that would create stiffer penalties for people who stage motor vehicle crashes to collect insurance payouts. Assembly Bill 15, filed on behalf of Attorney General Adam Laxalt by the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor, would raise the prison sentence for insurance fraud committed with a staged crash to between two and 10 years. The current law carries a sentence of one to four years of prison.

“These staged accident rings operate like organized criminal enterprises,” Jeffrey Segal, Laxalt’s bureau chief for criminal justice, told the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. In some cases, perpetrators have ties to organized crime, he said.

Segal said groups orchestrate fraud by using multiple vehicles, setting up crashes to “entrap unwitting motorists” into forking over cash or to file phony claims for injuries.


The bill would also increase fines up to $10,000 per offense, up from a current limit of $5,000 per offense.

Opponents of the bill asked whether a stiffer penalty would act as a deterrent, how much it would cost the state to have longer prison sentences and if existing laws, including federal statutes used to fight racketeering, are sufficient.

Rather than raising penalties and spending money on corrections, the savings could be invested in training for police and prosecutors for fighting the problem, said John Piro, a lobbyist for the Clark County Public Defender’s Office.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or (775)461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

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