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Authorities arrest three after auto insurance sting

Posted On Mon, March 14, 2011

In a Maryland auto insurance fraud sting, when federal authorities put out the bait, a Silver Spring lawyer bit.

According to the Washington Examiner, the FBI and Washington, D.C., Police Department conducted an undercover operation, using a special agent as the person filing a false accident report.

Court records collected by the paper indicate that a woman, Alba Butamante, contacted the special agent after receiving the false report and gave him the number to a personal injury lawyer, Ryan Lahuti. Despite the agent informing the woman he was not injured, she said "it didn't matter" and that he could "pocket" several thousands of dollars in accident insurance because Lahuti worked with a chiropractor.

Court documents indicate the special agent was told his back was out of alignment by the chiropractor and that with the report, Lahuti's office would bill the insurance company for $8,000.

The paper reports the parties involved in the insurance scam have received multiple charges, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and healthcare fraud.

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, whose members include industry giants like Allstate, GEICO and State Farm, insurance fraud is an $80 billion per year industry. 

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