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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Eight Indicted In Two Million Dollar Staged Accident Conspiracy

Defendants Intentionally Caused Motor Vehicle Accidents In Kings And Nassau Counties To Obtain Insurance Payments

An indictment was presented this morning in the United States Courthouse for the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip, New York, charging eight defendants with mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud multiple insurance companies. Named as defendants in the indictment are Shawnn McFadden, Roshon Cooke, Daniel Osborne, Daniel Thompson, Allah Brown, Byron Dudley, Shaquana Basnight and Clifford Hawkins. According to the indictment, the defendants staged accidents and later falsely claimed that they sustained physical injuries as a result of the accidents.1 The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned later today before the Honorable A. Kathleen Tomlinson, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Keith E. Mike, Acting Inspector-in-Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department.

As alleged in the 14 count indictment, beginning in March 2009 and continuing until July 2011, the defendants rented vehicles from U-Haul International, Inc. (“U-Haul”) and drove with one or more coconspirators as passengers to locations in Kings and Nassau Counties where they either intentionally struck or were struck intentionally by vehicles driven and occupied by other coconspirators. After the accidents, the defendants and coconspirators responded to locations throughout the metropolitan area ostensibly to receive medical treatment for injuries purportedly suffered during the staged accidents. The defendants and others later filed insurance claims with U-Haul’s insurer Republic Western Insurance CompanyWest, as well as Travelers Insurance Company, Allstate Insurance Company, GMAC Insurance, GEICO, and Progressive Insurance which sought over $2 million, and the defendants obtained over $1 million in payment, for claimed injuries and medical treatment.

“As alleged, these defendants played bumper cars with the lives of unsuspecting New Yorkers, all to enrich themselves through insurance fraud. Insurance fraud through staged accidents presents a danger not only to the public health but also exacts a high cost to the public in the cost of insurance,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We and our law enforcement partners will vigorously pursue and prosecute those who seek to profit by such fraud.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the New York City Police Department and the New York State Department of Financial Services for their assistance.

Acting Postal Inspector-in-Charge Mike stated, “The arrests of these individuals for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud insurance companies is an example of the commitment of Postal Inspectors to eliminate crime wherever it exists – keeping the mail safe and secure for the American public.”

The indictment charges all eight defendants with mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, forfeiture of over a million dollars, and a $250,000 fine.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charles P. Kelly.

The Defendants:

Age: 31
Residence: Uniondale, NY

Age: 35
Residence: Hempstead, NY

Age: 28
Residence: Uniondale, NY

Age: 32
Residence: Norfolk, VA

Age: 27
Residence: Roosevelt, NY

Age: 28
Residence: Baldwin, NY

Age: 30
Residence: Hempstead, NY

Age: 25
Residence: Baldwin, NY


1 The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated July 13, 2015