Friday, August 1, 2008

Bogus Insurance Scams 500 People
By Patrick Center

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) -- As many as 500 people may have been taken in by a bogus car insurance scam run by a man who offered $40 insurance for six months of coverage.

Isaac Chandler, 31, was arrested and plead guilty to six felonies related to the scam. The Grand Rapids and Walker police departments began an investigation following an April 2007 newspaper article that questioned the coverage because of the low fee.

In July 2007, Chandler's computer was confiscated from his York Creek apartment, but he wasn't arrested until April 21, 2008.

Mary Tadora of Wyoming is one of more than 500 people who bought phony auto insurance from Chandler, aka Clarence. She doesn't expect to get her money back, "but that's a lot of money."

She knew it sounded too good to be true, "but then he made it out that he was trying to help people that were low income."

Mario Martinez and his wife Laura Meza are haunted by their deal. On January 21, 2008, Meza struck an oncoming car and killed the driver, Marian Lewis, 88.

Martinez thought he had auto insurance. "How do I know it's fake," he asks, "because I went to the Secretary of State to get plates?"

The scam came unraveled during the investigation when the insurance coverage in a fatal accident was reviewed.

"Most of the people we've talked with truly believed they were buying valid insurance," said Sgt. Keith Manker of the Walker police. "I policed the (Marian Lewis) fatality. When I got the insurance, I thought it was valid insurance."

Legitimate insurance companies, including Nationwide, Citizens and Meridian, helped investigators uncover the scam.

At a joint news conference, police said Chandler's cell phone had the numbers of 428 clients. If you purchased a plan from Chandler, you're asked to call the Kent County Victim Witness Unit at 616.632.5400.

Chandler is out on bond. He faces prison time for three counts of using a computer to commit a felony and three counts of issuing counterfeit insurance documents.

Chandler will be sentenced August 25, 2008 in Judge James Redford's court. Since he is a fourth felony offender, the maximum punishment he could receive is life imprisonment.

1 comment:

. said...

Life? What the hell?