Staged Auto Accident Ring Busted

PHOENIX – The owner of an auto body shop and another man were arrested today, accused of staging auto accidents and collecting on fraudulent insurance claims. Guillermo “Willie” Altamirano, 33, owner of Champion Auto Body in Phoenix, was a key member of an organized crime syndicate that staged crashes to collect at least $200,000 in fraudulent claims. The group relied on forged drivers’ licenses from Mexico and Guatemala, as well as disposable cell phones and prepaid credit cards, to purchase auto insurance under fictitious names.                     

Acting on a tip from State Farm Insurance, an undercover operation began in April at the 1536 West Broadway auto body shop. Arizona Department of Insurance agents took an undercover vehicle into the shop for collision-related repairs. Agents had a pretext policy on the vehicle, which was supplied for the investigation by Farmers Insurance and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Altamirano took over the claim on the vehicle and allegedly caused additional damages to the vehicle to offset the deductible on the policy. Farmers Insurance issued a check for $3,625.83 under the name of Champion Auto Body, as well as the name used by the undercover agent whose signature was forged when the check was cashed.

In another incident, Altamirano, using a fictitious Mexico driver’s license under the name of Victor Delgadillo, filed a hit & run claim with State Farm. He reported that his vehicle, a 1988 Volvo, was damaged by a hit and run driver while it was parked at the YMCA parking lot at 67th Avenue and Campbell. State Farm paid Champion Auto Body and Victor Delgadillo $4,122.23 on the claim.  Altamirano was charged with conspiracy, assisting a criminal syndicate, fraud schemes, theft and forgery.

Also arrested today was Rigoberto Lara-Corral, 48, the suspected ringleader of the operation, who was arrested on six counts ranging from conspiracy and participating in a criminal syndicate to forgery and identity theft. Lara-Corral is accused of conspiring with others to submit fraudulent insurance vehicle claims against several companies. Lara-Corral is accused of supplying vehicles, fraudulent Mexico drivers’ licenses, prepaid credit cards, prepaid cell phones and forged Arizona motor vehicle titles.  Lara-Corral, an undocumented Mexican National, is in the U.S. illegally awaiting a deportation hearing.

A third man, Juan Alejandro Villa, 25, was arrested Sept. 24th for his participation in the ring, which included filing at least five false claims worth nearly $20,000. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

Officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Phoenix Police Department assisted in today’s arrests, which occurred early in the morning at two locations. Both State Farm and Farmers Insurance cooperated in the investigation.

Arizona Insurance Director Germaine Marks praised her investigators and those who assisted them. “It took months of intense investigation by our agents, as well as close cooperation between other law enforcement agencies and the insurance companies, to make these arrests,” she said. “I’m very pleased that after everyone’s hard work we were able to shut down this crime ring.”

About the Arizona Department of Insurance

The Arizona Department of Insurance, an agency of the State of Arizona, is responsible for the education and protection of insurance consumers and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.

Health Insurance Telemarketers Annoy; Pose Fraud Risks

Phoenix, AZ—The Arizona Department of Insurance (ADOI) wants to make citizens aware of scams involving aggressive telemarketers attempting to sell health insurance plans and, in some cases, attempting to gain personal and financial information possibly for criminal purposes.

The ADOI has received complaints from people who received multiple phone calls, robocalls, and text messages claiming to be from the National Health Enrollment Center, the Healthcare Enrollment Center and from Healthcare.gov. Some people report that they were contacted multiple times a day, sometimes from different phone numbers, despite requests to be placed on the companies' do-not-call lists. Additionally, some people report having been asked to provide health insurance enrollment information, including such information as address, date of birth, social security number, and personal health information that, in the wrong hands, could be used in identity theft or other fraud schemes.

Arizona citizens who have received persistent phone calls or text messages from these or other callers attempting to sell them health insurance are encouraged to file a complaint with:

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Arizona Department of Insurance Consumer Protection Division

  • Visit https://insurance.az.gov/consumers
  • Or call the ADOI’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 602-364-2499, or 1-800-325-2548 if calling within Arizona but outside Maricopa County.

We can all take steps to avoid becoming victims of fraud.

  • Never provide someone who calls you with your bank account number, your social security number, your credit card number, or your personal health information. If you are asked to provide this information, hang up.
  • Research the insurance agent and insurance company you are considering using by finding their license information through the ADOI’s License Search webpage (https://insurance.az.gov/license-search), and use contact information in the license record to contact them. Be skeptical and do research.
  • For information about insurance available from Health Insurance Marketplace, visit the Healthcare.gov website or call Healthcare.gov directly at 1-800-318-2596. The Arizona Department of Insurance is a state agency dedicated to protecting Arizona citizens and businesses by promoting a safe, strong, innovative and competitive insurance marketplace.

The Arizona Department of Insurance is a state agency dedicated to protecting Arizona citizens and businesses by promoting a safe, strong, innovative and competitive insurance marketplace.

Regulatory Bulletin 2019-01

Use of Credits and Premium Rebates in the Health Insurance Market 


FY 2020 INSURER ANNUAL ASSESSMENT INVOICES ARE AVAILABLE

Click here to view invoices for annual assessments to insurance companies and service companies. Payments are due August 9, 2019

Follow the instructions on the first page of the document to locate the invoice that applies to your company.  

Please consider using the OPTins "Assessment" account to pay your assessment invoice.  

Arizona Sample Notice of Continuation Coverage (Mini-COBRA)

Pursuant to ARS § 20-2330, a health benefits plan issued or renewed after December 31, 2018, must allow an enrollee and any qualified dependent to continue coverage after a qualifying event.  The law requires a small employer (with an average of at least 1 but fewer than 20 employees) to notify an enrollee in writing of the right of the enrollee and any qualified dependents to continue coverage under the employer's health benefits plan upon an enrollee's qualifying event.  Pursuant to Subsection C of the law, the Department has prepared a sample notice of coverage continuation form and is making the sample available on its website.  A small employer that uses, properly completes, and timely issues the Department's form is presumed to satisfy notification requirements.  On January 23, 2019, the Department uploaded a new version of the form.