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In what could be termed as one of the largest insurance fraud sentences received by a single individual, Tony Lucius Francis has been given 14 years in state prison and ordered to pay fines and restitution after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and one count of receiving stolen property.Why such a stiff sentence, finally, for a fraudster? Well, it seems that Francis, of Los Angeles, had an extensive criminal background Q including prior arrests for robbery, battery on a person, possession and sale of narcotics, assault with a deadly weapon, vehicle theft and murder! As such, he was subject to California’s Three Strikes Law and would have been given a 25 years-to-life sentence. In a plea negotiated with the LADA, it was agreed that a strike would be dropped and Francis would receive 14 years behind bars. Francis’s co-conspirator, Lorry Clemmons, failed to appear in court and currently remains a fugitive.
According to DOI fraud investigators, on January 6, 1998, Clemmons reported her car stolen to the LAPD, claiming the theft had occurred sometime before 8 PM that night. She then filed a claim for the theft with her insurer, Chicago Insurance Company. Investigators discovered the attempted fraud when an undercover officer purchased Clemmons car from Francis hours before she claimed it was stolen. According to statements made by Francis, the vehicle was an “insurance rip off” and had been “given” to him by Clemmons.
In another arrest stemming from the same undercover operation, Jesus Navarro Segura of Los Angeles pled guilty to charges of insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. He was sentenced to time served, and ordered to pay $7,776 in restitution and placed on three years probation. According to investigators, Segura reported to police that his 1998 Ford Expedition had been stolen during a car-jacking.
As part of their undercover investigation, officers set up a sting operation and purchased stolen property from various individuals. DOI investigators learned that a number of suspects were selling allegedly stolen vehicles in cases where the registered owners arranged the “theft” for the purpose of collecting insurance money.
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