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Police crack big insurance fraud case

11:53 AM Wed, Jan 24, 2007 |

Police told 11 News Tuesday they’ve cracked a big insurance fraud case that was costing regular citizens big money. 
According to police, Senaida Salgado, Jason Nixon, Michael Alan Koris, Luis Jose Galvan and a handful of others used local gang members to help carry out an elaborate insurance fraud scam that involved staging fake accidents and filing false claims for repairs and medical treatment that was never needed.

Staged accidents are nothing new.
A group called the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud said the scams occur everyday and cost Americans $80 billion a year — that’s nearly $950 per family.  And that leads to sky-high premiums.
And some scam artists aren’t exactly among your usual suspects. 
Houston high school chemistry teacher Tramesha Lashon Fox is in the Coalition’s Hall of Fame. 
She wanted to unload her Chevy Malibu because she was tired of the monthly payments.  So she gave passing grades to two failing students for stealing and torching her car so she could collect insurance money. 
She eventually got 90 days in jail and lost her job. 
In this latest fraud bust, sources say police stumbled across the fake accident ring working a murder for hire case. 
Documents obtained by 11 News show the suspects made claims between $100,000 – 200,000, which were presented to a company called Unitrin Insurance. 
All four suspects are currently in the Harris County Jail. 


Crystal Lin said:

Title: Please No More Victims Under This Injustice

Today was any other Saturday with my family. My mother, my father and brother were within the car and I was listening to my iPod as we drove towards our destination for a lunch within Chinatown. I was suddenly pulled out of my music when the car I was in swerved and we were hit from the side suddenly and harshly. I fell out of my seat and hit my left arm, my dad�s knee was bleeding and bruised and my mom�s legs were bruised as well, and as for my brother he was just shaken up.
We got out of the car and looked at the other car that had suddenly hit us and we saw that the car had taken out our car completely from the front left headlight side. Hysterical, cars honking and everyone taking out the cell phones, we dialed 911 for the police to arrive and sort out this horrible car crash. We waited as ambulances had come and gone and were struck with a wave of helplessness as we were lost upon the panic that had come upon us. We then decided that things would be resorted when the police came.
Upon stepping out of the car, we knew we had committed no crimes against traffic laws, we were driving on a green light straight forward among other cars when suddenly a red SUV rammed into us turning from the opposite direction. The men stated that they were under a green light, when they were the only cars to turn that meant they were the ones that ran the red light if no other cars behind them dared to follow. We were confused, worried, and defensive. As we saw countless of people gathering to stand on sidewalks at all sides of the streets, we were stricken that no one had seen what truly happened. All of the drivers who were at the intersection waiting for it to turn were long gone when we had thought about it and the cars that were still driving under the green light were long gone as well.
The two men in the car I remembered were arguing with one another as they stepped out. My parents immediately told them �You ran a red light� and they replied with a simple �Don�t worry about it�. As we waited, within the SUV was a woman whom one of the men claimed to be his mother and was taken into an ambulance for severe injuries which none of us could see were apparent. A few more minutes into waiting and the tow trucks flowed into the hustle and bustle of this now crowded intersection of Bellaire and South Gessener. Finally, a police car�s siren filled the sound waves and the lights were clear in air. He stepped out and took a brief look at our cars before pulling out papers of which to start the tedious paperwork of this accident.
The men all of a sudden had countless of witnesses who were �suddenly� at the scene of the crime who all said we had run a red light. One was an elderly lady who looked composed and honest but beneath that exterior was a fa�ade of bitter lies and faux stories which she told to the policeman who soaked up every single word of hers as if it was the truth of all reality. We also were luckily to find a couple witnesses who had seen what truly happened as well. They were farmers from Victoria, Texas and were at the location when it all happened. They came forward immediately and then told the police of what really happened where the policeman at once dismissed them but told my mother she was wrong and had committed a crime. I was mortified, angry and sad at the laws of Houston as my parents, who had brought in four children over the eighteen years of my life, were being charged of a crime they did not do. I could not believe the situation that was happening where I grew up. I passed this exact road and intersection almost everyday and a couple people from Louisiana, I am assuming Hurricane Katrina victims, hit us and did away with all my beliefs of Houston�s justice system within a matter of 30 minutes.
To make matters worse, the policeman took up the whole story of the two men, accusing us of doing a wrong and even threatened to arrest my mother if she would not be quiet as she was only trying to defend herself against the ill-spoken words of the accident and lies that were within the air. He then proceeded to say we were at fault and said we would be receiving a ticket as well. We were stricken with the animosity the officer directed towards us. As the hostility grew, we pondered if it could possibly be because we were of Asian descent? As a born and raised in Houstonian, I know almost nothing of my Asian heritage. I can tell you where to eat at in the Galleria district but eat at a Chinese restaurant and all I can order is probably the shrimp fried rice. With that being said, I�d like to believe that I am just as American as anyone of another color or origin. From that, my parents worked hard to learn English. With it being their second language, they had to take work for their citizenship whereas most Americans have been born into this country. They had to know all of the Presidents of the United States and so many other historical facts that I�m sure not many American even know now to this day. It is probably because of this accident they thought it would be easy to harass my parents into a situation like this.
However, we knew we were right and we continued to wait for our turn to speak. It had gotten to the point where we were waiting for the HPD officer�s supervisor to show up to settle this argument between my parents and the rude policeman. It worked and we were at ease when the man had settled things. The other party�s witnesses were all long gone by now and I remember the old lady crossing the street to where I was, passing me by with a smirk across her face. She had said she was driving right along our side but had walked to the bus stop just down the block where she waited. From that, I deduced that she was probably lying and trying to con this accident so we would be at fault and there would be money involved in which the people would be paid graciously in a settlement. The two men from Victoria (our witnesses) had stayed with us the whole time, saying we were right and they would be willing to testify where the rest of the witnesses that had seen us do wrong were long gone. Coincidence or obviously planned?
I am sure that the two men of the other party were hoping that we would not have insurance and then we would have to pay in court countless amounts of money where they could settle this dispute with them being correct. This happened on an intersection where there were no cameras, had it been just down one more main intersection on Fondren and Bellaire, then it would have been caught on camera and no disputes could rile up since it would be on concrete evidence. This has happened to my dad approximately a couple years ago when he got into an accident with a car that blocked him in on the road, only for him to swerve into another car sending him into a collision. Then six other cars that weren�t even on the road at the time were arguing saying it was his fault. When the police came five of the cars had driven away, leaving one car left, and the car left wasn�t even the man my dad had hit. This dilemma needs a solution since I am sure there are countless of others that could have been in this same predicament like we were in this fateful day. I hope if people read this that they will fight for what is right and realize that there must be a lesson learned that comes out of everything bad that happens to someone.
A second dilemma that I have come across is the fact that the two men that came from Louisiana could have been from the Hurricane Katrina devastation. Upon reviewing their driver�s license, the insurance information and other information that needed to be accumulated, there was nothing that matched the name given. It was alarming as well that they had no address listed in Houston, no phone numbers of Houston listed or anything else if we were in need to reach them. The fact that they could be giving false information and they would never be seen again is frightening and alarming.
With my sister winning the Spelling Bee at her middle school of 1,000 students two days ago, my mom promised to practice with her everyday and help her recite words so she would be able to win the contest again in the next week at branch region in which she was in. It is sad to see that the time taken up on this incident lasted for so long on this day and she is then unable to help my sister because of this. However, there is hope that she will do fine and be able to succeed.
As a senior in high school who is president of the National Honor Society, vice president of her senior class of 2007, and the valedictorian of the graduating class of 2007, I would say I do have a lot of things that I have seen and have experience in. As the semester dwindles towards an end of my high school chapter, I am heading towards a start of my college, towards the realities of life and beginning my own chapter in a start for college. Graduating tops of my class and with 80 plus hours credit going into college would put me ahead of my own colleagues but high school and college could never prepare me for the realities of cruel, vindictive people who are willing to try and get every penny out of the honest people in the world. With this said, I hope that everyone can find their injustices will be truly set out, freed and proven right and true.
Hopefully, there will be no more other victims within Houston that will have the same incidents like us. It is suspicious that the other party could be a crime group who has done this numerous amounts of time making us not the first victims among this scheme. Hopefully, there will be a thorough investigation of this and no other people will be able to be victims from them again. If anyone was at Bellaire and South Gessener at 1:30PM on January 27, 2007, please contact us with the e-mail address: or come forward to HPD to report the truth. Please help our citizens to not become a next victim like this.

By: Crystal Lin, a young Houstonian

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