For Immediate Release - October 02, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley Announces the Sentencing of a Lynn Woman Charged with Motor Vehicle Insurance Fraud

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley announces the sentencing of a Lynn woman yesterday that participated in a scheme to collect on fraudulent auto insurance claims by staging multiple motor vehicle accidents. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Fahey sentenced Vivian Thomas, 37, to five years probation on the charge of Motor Vehicle Insurance Fraud. As a condition of her probation, Thomas must notify her probation officer of any insurance claims she files, excluding health insurance.

Thomas and her husband, Greg Nosa, 44, also of Lynn, were indicted for their participation in a wide ranging insurance scheme. Nosa was charged with Motor Vehicle Insurance Fraud (5 counts), Identity Theft (6 counts), Forging or Falsifying a Certificate of Title (4 counts), and Larceny by Scheme. The case against Nosa is ongoing.

This case stems from an investigation covering a 10-year span from 1994 through 2004 dubbed "Operation Pony Express" that was initially started by the United States Postal Inspection Service involving over 200 fraudulent insurance transactions totaling approximately $390,000. As part of the insurance fraud scheme, false identities were used to purchase cars, obtain auto insurance coverage, and then stage accidents for the purposes of collecting money from insurance claims against the policies for damage to the vehicles, lost wages and medical coverage for the vehicle's occupants. According to authorities, participants in this scheme allegedly created a number of fake identities using either valid or invalid social security numbers for the vehicle occupants and used post office boxes for the identity's home or work address in order to obtain the insurance payments.

During the course of this scheme, Thomas participated in a staged accident. In May 2002 Thomas was a passenger in a reported single car accident that occurred on Route 93 Southbound in Methuen. Both the driver and the other passenger used false identities as part of the scheme. Following the accident, Thomas filed Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Wage Loss claims against the auto insurance carrier, Metropolitan Life & Casualty. Investigators found that the social security numbers for both the driver of the car and the other passenger were invalid.

This case was referred to the Attorney General's Office in February 2007 from the United States Postal Inspection Service in Boston.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Thomas on October 11, 2007. Thomas was arraigned November 1, 2007, in Suffolk Superior Court at which time she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. The trial began on September 14, 2009, and lasted six days. The jury deliberated for a day and a half before reaching a verdict of guilty on September 22, 2009. Thomas was sentenced yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General William R. Freeman of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division, with assistance from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts, and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.