By Arkansas Business Staff
2/14/2007 3:54:09 PM
Arkansas State Insurance Commissioner Julie Benafield Bowman said Wednesday that a suspected insurance fraud ringleader, Frederick Watson, has turned himself in to Little Rock Police.
The state Insurance Department said Watson is alleged to have masterminded a car crash ring operation that defrauded insurance companies of hundreds of thousands of dollars over 12 years.
Among his alleged accomplices were his cousin, Mark Watson, and Rebekah Rahn, both of whom were arrested Monday.
Bowman said investigators from the departmentâ€™s Criminal Investigation Division began looking into the case after an adjuster with an insurance company said she thought one of her clients had been intentionally crashed into while driving.
“A common thread soon began to emerge as the department looked at police accident reports,” Bowman said in a news release. “The investigators began to see the same vehicle involved in more than one accident and similar names for drivers involved.
Watson and others in the ring are alleged to have staged more than 40 accidents during their years of operation, choosing targets as they left driveways or traveled through intersections. Some crashes caused injuries.