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Press Release

Toledo Men Accused Of Defrauding Insurance Companies Through Fake Auto Accidents

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

An indictment was filed charging Michael N. Smith, age 57, and Darryl Richardson, age 57, both of Toledo, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The defendants are accused of devising a scheme to enrich themselves through the submission of false and fraudulent auto insurance claims to various insurers, causing total losses of more than $135,000. The scheme involved recruiting numerous other co-conspirators to fake auto accidents and then make false claims to insurance companies, according to the indictment.

The conspiracy took place between December 2006 and March 2009 and involved more than 20 claims submitted to companies including GEICO, Safe Auto Insurance Company, Permanent Generl, n/k/a The General, and Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, according to the indictment.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentence will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, the defendants’ role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The investigating agencies in this case are the United States Postal Service, Cleveland, Ohio, United States Secret Service, Toledo, Ohio, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Chardon, Ohio. The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph R. Wilson.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 12, 2015