Two Men Convicted of Staging Car Accidents in Eastern Connecticut as Part of Insurance Fraud Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal jury in New Haven has found MACKENZY NOZE, 32, and JONAS JOSEPH, 33, also known as “James,” both residents of Norwich, guilty of fraud and conspiracy offenses related to their staging of car accidents for the purpose of defrauding automobile insurance companies. The trial before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer began on June 5 and the jury returned verdicts of guilty on all counts on the indictment this afternoon.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, between April 2011 and February 2014, NOZE, JOSEPH, and others conspired to stage approximately 50 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 jury found NOZE and JOSEPH guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, NOZE guilty of eight counts of mail or wire fraud, and JOSEPH guilty of five counts of mail or wire fraud. The charges carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count. NOZE is scheduled to be sentenced on September 1 and JOSEPH is scheduled to be sentenced on September 5.
After the verdict, Judge Meyer ordered NOZE, who is a citizen of Haiti and lawful permanent residence of the U.S., detained pending sentencing.
JOSEPH is released on a $10,000 bond.
Five other individuals charged as a result of this investigation have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
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.