Insurance Fraud NEWS

Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

North Dakota driver says he drove when girlfriend crashed

February 21, 2018, Minot, ND — A 33-year-old Minot man was given a suspended 360 day jail sentence and one year of unsupervised probation last week for defrauding his insurance company.

David Kurtis Lee pleaded guilty to Class A misdemeanor insurance fraud on Feb. 14. He had originally been charged with a Class C felony.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court, Lee’s girlfriend, Demeri Cole, who was not covered by Lee’s insurance policy, was driving Lee’s rental car on Feb. 7, 2017 when she struck another car and fled the scene. Three days later, on Feb. 10, 2017, the owner of the other vehicle spotted Lee’s rental vehicle, followed it and called police. Lee was driving the vehicle and Cole was a passenger. Lee told police he had just hit a retaining wall at his job and that he had been in Florida on Feb. 7, 2017. Cole denied being the hit and run driver, but surveillance video showed that she was driving and left the scene of the accident.

Cole later pleaded guilty in Minot Municipal Court to driving under suspension and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Lee was also charged with making a false report to law enforcement in relation to the incident. He pleaded guilty in July 2017 and was given a deferred imposition of sentence for six months of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $325 in court costs.

On Feb. 10, 2017, according to the affidavit, Lee called Progressive Insurance and falsely reported that he had struck a retaining wall at his place of employment in Minot. On April 12, 2017, Lee told the insurance investigator that he had not been the driver in the Feb. 7, 2017 incident and another person had been driving the vehicle. Lee told the investigator that he lied because a family member of the driver had threatened him and forced him to file a false insurance claim. He also acknowledged that there had not been an accident involving a retaining wall on Feb. 10, 2017.

The damage to the rental car was estimated at $9,060.59 and the damage to the vehicle that was hit was $21,253.31.

Source: Minot Daily News

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