Milford Woman Arraigned in Connection with Using Stolen Identities to Sell Fraudulent Commercial Auto Insurance Policies
Virgin Lima, age 41, of Milford, was arraigned yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of Motor Vehicle Insurance Fraud (5 counts), Accepting Gifts to Influence Business Affairs (2 counts), Conspiracy to Commit Insurance Fraud (5 counts), and Larceny over $250 (5 counts). Lima was indicted by a Suffolk County Grand Jury on March 11, 2010.
Co-defendant, Wanderson Silva, age 31, of Malden, was also indicted in connection with this case. Silva is charged with Motor Vehicle Insurance Fraud (12 counts), Stealing Operator's License (9 counts), Accepting Gifts to Influence Business Affairs (3 counts), Larceny over $250 (12 counts) and Conspiracy to Commit insurance Fraud (5 counts).
In August 2008, the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts began an investigation and referred the alleged scheme to the Attorney General's Office in June 2009. Authorities allege that Silva, a car salesman at a dealer in Somerville, orchestrated meetings with unlicensed individuals and Lima, a licensed insurance agent at Brighton Insurance Company (Brighton Insurance) in Brighton. Authorities allege that these meetings resulted in several fraudulent commercial motor vehicle insurance policies. In order to obtain a private motor vehicle insurance policy in Massachusetts, the Division of Insurance and Massachusetts law requires all foreign operators to have a valid Massachusetts license if they have been in the United States for more than one year. Investigators discovered that Silva's customers had been in the United States for more than one year and did not have valid Massachusetts licenses. Therefore, these customers could not lawfully register their vehicles and obtain motor vehicle insurance policies.
Authorities allege that Silva promised all of his customers' insurance policies if they bought their vehicles from his dealership. In order for Silva to obtain insurance on these vehicles without the customers having valid driver's licenses, Silva allegedly enlisted the help of Lima. Investigators discovered that Silva would bring his customers to Lima, use the valid licenses of unsuspecting former customers, and then she would use her work computer to create fraudulent commercial motor vehicle insurance policies for Silva's clients listing them as drivers. Authorities allege that both Silva and Lima accepted payment from these clients in order to create the fraudulent policies.
IFB investigators discovered that Lima allegedly created 12 fraudulent commercial auto policies during the period of January 2006 through January 2008. In order to accomplish this, authorities allege that Silva created fictitious company names to obtain the policies and insure the vehicles of his clients. Silva's customers did not have licenses nor did they have their own businesses. Since a licensed individual must be listed as the driver for the commercial company, Silva allegedly stole personal information from previous customers who had valid Massachusetts licenses without their consent. Authorities believe that these valid drivers were listed as the operators associated with the fictitious companies, and that they did not know they were listed as the owners of these policies or that these policies ever existed.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Lima and Silva on March 11, 2010. Following his arrest, Silva was arraigned that same day in Suffolk Superior Court. He pled not guilty and is currently being held on $50,000 cash bail. Lima was arraigned yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court where she pled not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Both Lima and Silva are due back in court on May 13, 2010.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Cotter of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division. The case was investigated by the IFB. Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office also assisted with the case.