Former Castroville Animal Control Officer Pleads Guilty to Role in Fraudulent Insurance Claim Plot Involving Former Castroville Police Chief
In San Antonio this afternoon, former Castroville Animal Control Officer Ambrose Rymers admitted his role in a fraudulent insurance claim scheme involving 54-year-old former Castroville Police Chief Chris Filline and a third individual, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth S. Chestney, Rymers pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. By pleading guilty, Rymers admitted to assisting Filline and a third individual in a fraudulent scheme to collect insurance proceeds. Rymers, who faces up to five years in federal prison, is scheduled for sentencing at 1:30pm on April 29, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez.
A one-count federal grand jury indictment--unsealed on Monday following Filline’s arrest—alleges that between June 2016 and December 2016, Filline schemed to defraud Farmers Insurance Group regarding his 2007 Lincoln Navigator. According to court records, Filline conspired with Rymers and a third individual, to destroy the vehicle in order to collect insurance proceeds. Rymers admitted to following the third individual, who was allegedly driving Filline’s SUV, to a location in Bexar County on July 15, 2016. According to the indictment, the third individual doused the SUV with an accelerant and lit it on fire. The indictment further alleges that on July 18, 2016, Filline went to the Lytle Police Department and reported that his SUV had been stolen. Three days later, Filline electronically submitted an insurance claim to Farmers Insurance Group. That filing resulted in the processing and payment of a fraudulent claim for $14,388.25 to Filline.
The indictment charges Filline and the third individual with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Upon conviction, Filline and the third individual face up to 20 years in federal prison. Filline is on bond pending trial scheduled for 9:30am on March 30, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio. The third individual is not in custody at this time.
The FBI, together with the Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office, investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Surovic is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.