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Four charged with staging auto accident, collecting insurance

A Cape Coral man and three others are accused of setting up a fake car accident and collecting more than $13,000 from an insurance company.

Roberto Davila Serrano, 59, of 4803 Triton Court, Apt. E1, was arrested and charged July 23 with fraud plan participate vehicle accident make claims and fraud false statement filed with insurance office. Both are felony charges.

Also arrested in connection to the alleged scheme:

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Roberto Davila Serrano

n Juan Rivas, 35, of 12581 Metro Parkway, Fort Myers, was charged with fraud plan participate vehicle accident make claims and fraud false statement filed with insurance office

n Enrique Flores Sanchez, 40, of 703 Maida Lane, Apt. 4E, Fort Myers, was charged with fraud plan participate vehicle accident make claims and fraud insurance fraud less than $20,000

n Jonathan Abiel Soto, 27, of 4488 Golfview Blvd., Lehigh Acres, was charged with fraud plan participate vehicle accident make claims and fraud false statement make false entry refinance condition

As of Tuesday, Serrano had been released from jail on $6,500 bond.

He did not return a message seeking comment on the charges.

According to an arrest report, Serrano was involved in an accident at Ray Avenue South and Meadow Road in Lehigh Acres in February. A Dodge truck that Serrano was driving collided with a U-haul truck being driven by Rivas.

Sanchez and Soto were passengers in Serrano’s truck when it crashed.

Serrano filed a claim with his insurer, Allstate Insurance Company. While explaining what happened during the accident, he reportedly made no mention that his passengers were employed by Rivas or that he himself knew Rivas.

In April, an investigator met with Rivas to discuss the insurance claim he filed. According to the report, Rivas admitted that it was a staged accident and he was supposed to get $500 for participating, but he never got paid.

He also reported that Sanchez was once an employee of his.

During an interview, Sanchez declined knowing anything about the accident being staged, but realized the driver of the U-haul was his former employer afterward. He said he met Serrano due to Serrano visiting Rivas’ business.

Sanchez said he received no money to participate in a staged accident, but Soto did give him money for medical treatment, according to the report.

When investigators met with Serrano, he denied that the accident was staged and allegedly stated that he had never met Rivas prior to the crash. He reportedly said he met Soto and Sanchez at a store just days before.

Authorities met with other businesses located in the commercial building that Rivas once rented and confirmed that Serrano had visited before the accident. Phone records also reportedly revealed that the parties talked.

Serrano and the other four were taken into custody and charged.

Allstate is seeking approximately $12,873 that was paid under Serrano’s collision and rental coverage and $980 that was paid under PIP coverage and medical payments for Sanchez. The restitution sought is about $13,853.

Serrano has a court appearance scheduled for Aug. 27.

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