State Police arrest suspects in insurance scam

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Chase Joseph, right, is lead into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center Tuesday from the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office in Lafayette.
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Chase Joseph, right, is lead into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center Tuesday from the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office in Lafayette.

3 more sought in staged accidents

State Police arrested eight people Tuesday and issued arrest warrants for three others in an insurance scam involving staged automobile accidents that endangered children.

Stephen Hammons, a spokesman for State Police Troop I, said the alleged ringleader who is believed to have orchestrated the fraud, Farice Daigle Jr., of Arnaudville, was arrested Friday.

Hammons said Daigle, 43, was at one of three Lafayette Parish accidents in the alleged scam, which ran from September 2011 to May 2012.

Daigle was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on three counts of insurance fraud, three counts of theft over $500, two counts of child endangerment and two counts of money laundering. He remained in jail Tuesday on $500,000 bond.

Hammons said detectives in Lafayette were informed of suspicious claims in February by officials at the Louisiana Department of Insurance and started an investigation.

“Early indications pointed toward the fact that the crashes may have been staged, and that the occupants of the vehicles may have defrauded insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Hammons said in a news release.

Detectives reviewing crash reports found six children also were occupants in the crashed-on-purpose vehicles, ranging in ages of 1 to 13, Hammons said.

“Each adult involved in the crash filed separate fraudulent bodily injury claims for themselves and the children for which they were responsible,” Hammons said. Insurance companies paid more than $112,000 to the suspects, he said.

“For his part, Daigle was paid a portion of each individual’s settlement from the insurance claims,” Hammons said.

The suspects booked Tuesday are in jail on various felony counts, including insurance fraud, child endangerment, theft, and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Arrested Tuesday were:

Wanted on arrest warrants: