Norwich Man Sentenced to Prison for Role in Eastern Connecticut Insurance Fraud Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JONAS JOSEPH, also known as “James,” 34, of Norwich, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in New Haven to eight months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a scheme to stage car accidents for the purpose of defrauding automobile insurance companies.
On June 15, 2017, a jury found JOSEPH guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and Mackenzy Noze guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud and three counts of mail fraud.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, between March 2011 and February 2014, Noze, JOSEPH and others conspired to stage numerous car crashes in eastern Connecticut for the purpose of defrauding automobile insurance companies and enriching themselves. A high percentage of these planned crashes were single-vehicle accidents on remote roads where there were no witnesses other than the occupants of the crashed vehicle. After each staged accident, the defendants filed fraudulent property damage and bodily injury claims with various automobile insurance companies. They then collected payouts on the fraudulent claims from the victim insurance companies. These payouts typically ranged from approximately $10,000 to $30,000 per accident.
The evidence at trial indicated that Noze participated in as many as 50 staged crashes, and JOSEPH was personally involved in six crashes. In three of the crashes, JOSEPH feigned injury and filed fraudulent bodily injury claims. In the other three, he allowed others to crash into his vehicle so that he could collect payouts on fraudulent property damage claims.
Judge Meyer ordered JOSEPH to pay restitution of $44,153.42.
JOSEPH has been released on a $10,000 bond since his arrest on June 1, 2016. Judge Meyer ordered him to report to prison on November 27.
On October 2, 2017, Judge Meyer sentenced Noze to 48 months in prison.
Five other individuals have been charged and convicted as a result of this investigation.
This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Norwich Police Department, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Avi Perry and Michael J. Gustafson.