SUMTER, S.C. (WIS) – A Sumter man accused of being an insurance fraud ringleader has pleaded guilty for his role in two staged car accidents, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced.
According to Wilson, DeMarkus Marquel Daijhon Lane, 23, of Sumter, pleaded guilty on July 15th to two counts of presenting a false claim for payment greater than $10,000.
Officials say the case stemmed from a large Sumter County insurance fraud ring investigation involving multiple staged accidents, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of forged or altered medical bills, and the use of false identities.
After noticing the locations of the accidents and the parties involved being from previous fraudulent claims, the claims involving Lane were flagged as suspicious by the insurance companies and referred to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for investigation.
SLED interviewed the parties to the claims and officials say many of them confessed to the accidents being staged and the bills submitted to the insurance companies being altered. Dozens of people were arrested as a result of the investigation.
According to officials, Lane was identified as one of four ringleaders during SLED’s investigation.
Officials say Lane would set up accidents, alter or forge bills, assist and instruct others with filing fraudulent claims, and receive cuts of the insurance payouts.
The first of the two incidents to which he pleaded guilty occurred on December 21, 2016. Law enforcement responded to a two-vehicle collision at Plowden Mill Road and Boulevard Road in Sumter County. Officials say an investigation revealed six people reported injuries and filed insurance claims that included altered medical bills.
According to officials, Lane assisted with the filing of three fraudulent claims for the occupants of one of the cars. Over $85,000 in claims were made, almost all of which was paid out. After SLED’s investigation into the accident was completed, a total of eight defendants were arrested for participating in the staging of this accident and filing of fraudulent claims.
Officials say the second of the two incidents to which Lane pleaded guilty occurred on March 6, 2017. Law enforcement vehicles responded to a two-car crash at Bagnal and Oswego Roads in Sumter County. Investigation revealed five people reported injuries and filed insurance claims that included altered medical bills. Officials say Lane provided the medical bills for two of the claimants. After SLED completed its investigation into this particular accident, a total of six people were arrested for their involvement in staging the accident and filing fraudulent claims. Over $95,000 was paid out on this particular claim.
Judge Curtis sentenced Lane to five years in prison and suspended this sentence to five years of probation.
A special condition of probation is for Lane and co-defendants to pay $234,725.45 in restitution for the fraudulent claims.
Officials say this is one of their largest amounts of restitution ordered.
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