Five plead guilty in staged-car accident schemes

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Five defendants charged in a staged-accident insurance fraud scheme pleaded guilty Thursday morning.

Arlene Manuela Hernandez, 25, Lemay Oliver Monzon, 29, Anthony Robles, 19, Jessica Caldes Tarrio, 27, and Yelandis Penichet Vargas, 32, all are from Las Vegas and each pleaded guilty to one count of insurance fraud.

The five are part of a 27-person ring indicted by a Clark County Grand Jury on 68 felony counts.

According to the Nevada Attorney General, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to stage no less than 19 automobile accidents and four thefts with the intent of fraudulently obtaining insurance benefits. The defendants filed 23 fraudulent insurance claims related to the accidents and thefts.

The five defendants await sentencing. Twelve of the defendants are scheduled to go to trial on Nov.13, 2018. The remaining seven defendants are at large. It’s suspected most of them have left the country.

Insurance fraud is punishable by up to four years in prison.

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