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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Nine Individuals Have Plead Guilty to Involvement in Staged Accidents

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Richard Ronald Wells of Spokane, Washington pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges in connection with his role in a conspiracy to defraud an insurance company by staging an automobile accident and to launder the criminally derived proceeds. Richard Ronald Wells pled guilty to six counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of conducting monetary transactions in criminally derived property, and one count of conspiracy to conduct monetary transaction in criminally derived property. Chief United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice accepted Wells’ nine guilty pleas and scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 30, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. in Spokane, Washington.

According to court documents and information disclosed during court proceedings, Wells admitted to conspiring with others to stage an October 2016 accident in Liberty Lake, Washington, involving Wells’ 2015 Ram 3500 truck, Christopher Joseph Frangella’s 2005 Ford F250 truck, and another individual’s 2005 Baja boat in order to defraud Safeco Insurance Company out of approximately $338,266. Wells and Frangella allowed the other individual to deliberately crash Wells’ Ram 3500 truck into Frangella’s truck while towing the other individual’s boat. False material representations were made to police, emergency and medical personnel, and Safeco Insurance Company about the manner in which the accident occurred and the cause, nature and extent of the injuries incurred. Wells and the others falsely claimed that they suffered injuries from the accident and communicated with Safeco about their fraudulent claims via interstate telephone calls, facsimile transmissions, and mailings. Wells received an approximate $59,557 split of the fraud proceeds in the form of a check from Safeco.

Eight other individuals have pleaded guilty to criminal charges for their role in the scheme to defraud insurance companies: Ryan Folks Park of Spokane, Washington, pleaded guilty to fourteen counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, two counts of conducting monetary transactions in criminally derived property, and one count of conspiracy to conduct monetary transaction in criminally derived property. Park admitted to directly participating in at least thirteen accidents staged by co-conspirators between 2013 and 2017 in Washington, Nevada, California, and Idaho. The fraudulent insurance proceeds generated by the thirteen staged accidents totaled approximately $2,836,852. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6, 2019.

Kimberly Rita Boito of Spokane, Washington, pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, two counts of conducting monetary transactions in criminally derived property, and one count of conspiracy to conduct monetary transaction in criminally derived property. Boito admitted to participating in at least four staged accidents generating approximately $1,238,964 in fraud proceeds. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 13, 2019.

Christopher Joseph Frangella of Nine Mile Falls, Washington, pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Frangella admitted to participating in five staged accidents in Washington, Idaho and Nevada. The fraudulent proceeds generated from the five accidents totaled approximately $968,737. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6, 2019.

Bonnie Jean Bonney of Placerville, California, pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Bonney admitted to participating in at least four staged accidents in California and Nevada which generated approximately $1,183,872 in fraudulent proceeds. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8, 2019.

Brittany Jo Harris of Newport, Washington, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Harris admitted to participating in at least two staged accidents in Idaho and California that generated approximately $448,707 in fraudulent insurance proceeds. She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18, 2019.

Stephanie Stock of San Jose, California, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 16, 2019.

Matthew David Carter of Las Vegas, Nevada pleaded guilty to four counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Carter admitted to participating in two staged accidents in Las Vegas, Nevada, that generated approximately $566,512 in fraud proceeds. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 10, 2019.

Jason Allan Westfall of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Westfall admitted to participating in one stated accident in Las Vegas, Nevada, that generated approximately $275,607 in fraud proceeds. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 10, 2019.

The vehicles used in some of the staged automobile accidents included: a 2002 Jaguar Vanden Plus; a 2005 Jaguar; a 2001 Jaguar XK8; a 2004 Infiniti FX35; a 2004 Cadillac Escalade; a 2006 Land Rover; a 2004 Mercedes Benz ML350; a 2008 Cadillac CTS; a 2007 BMW X3; and a 2001 BMW 530I. A 1995 Chaparral was used in a staged boating accident.

Eleven other defendants have been named in an indictment and are awaiting trial. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, United States Marshals Service, United States Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, and United States Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. This case is being prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs, III, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Topic(s): 
Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 
18-CR-00232-TOR
Updated April 30, 2019