Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

December 19, 2012

North Texas Residents Guilty in Mail Fraud Scheme

SHERMAN, Texas – Three north Texas residents have pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

                Chase Raynard Ashford, 29, of Dallas, Erica Shontay Ashford, 29, of Dallas, and Kiera Kenrae Davis, 23, of Princeton, Texas, each pleaded guilty to being involved in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant.

                According to information presented in court, from July 2008 to March 2010, the defendants engaged in a mail fraud scheme that involved numerous staged automobile accidents in an effort to collect insurance proceeds.  A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment on May 9, 2012, charging Chase Ashford, Erica Ashford, Davis and five others with federal violations.  The indictment stated that the staged automobile accidents, as fraudulently reported by or at the direction of participants in the scheme, all shared similar characteristics, including the lack of police contact or witnesses and reports that insured drivers often were swerving to miss an animal in the road or were driving in wet road conditions.  The indictment also stated that insurance companies issued claim checks totaling approximately $425,000 for damages allegedly sustained in the staged automobile accidents.

                Chase Ashford, Erica Ashford and Davis each face up to 20 years in federal prison.  Sentencing dates have not been set.

This case is being investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard J. Johnson.





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