Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Cousin Reveals Massachusetts Drunk Driver Leaving Scene And Attempting Fraud

We are now announcing a special “family plan” for the “Hey, I’ll Bet I Can Make This Situation Worse” club we have spoken so much of in this daily blog.

Lawrence, Massachusetts. July, 2008. A 1997 Honda Civic careens into a fence on Phillips Street. Eduard M., 19, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”), the driver, takes the unorthodox approach – he tells his passengers to follow him and they flee the scene. He then reports the car stolen.

It’s a good start toward individual membership. After all, what’s a simple car accident when you can have charges of leaving the scene and fraud added with very little additional effort?

Clinching this nomination, however, is the Defendant’s cousin, Jose, who then went back to the scene to retrieve his hat.

You see, Jose is a friendly guy and ended up talking about the situation with a resident of the house where the accident had occurred. He told the resident how the Defendant had been drunk, but that his auto insurance would cover damage to the fence.

Lawrence police are a friendly bunch too and one of their officers ended up engaged in the conversation with cousin Jose. So, Jose elaborated on the story. He told the officer that his cousin, the Defendant, was drunk and had a suspended driver’s license, but still insisted on driving five other people home from a party on Kendall Street. Missing a turn at Dorchester and Phillips streets, the Defendant hit the fence instead.

Sure enough, about 36 hours after the crash, the Defendant ambled into the police station to report his car being stolen.

When confronted by the officer about his cousin’s account, the Defendant admitted he lied and wanted to withdraw his stolen car report.

Too late.

The Defendant had already filed a stolen car claim with his insurance company. Not only that, but he later told an investigator with Plymouth Rock Assurance five days after his police interview that the car had been stolen and not recovered.

Plymouth Rock denied the theft claim and referred the case to the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts. A fraud bureau investigator working with the city’s auto insurance fraud task force probed the case.

The result? The Defendant was arrested at his home Thursday. He was charged with attempted larceny of property and filing an fraudulent auto insurance claim.

His arrest brings to 334 the number of people charged with auto insurance fraud in the city’s five-year-old crackdown.

Samuel’s take:

Well, at least the local prosecutor’s office are going to have a hard time prosecuting the drunk driving allegation. However, charges of driving without a license and leaving the scene of an accident can easily be added to that order of fraud allegations.

You may think that the lesson of today’s blog is, when you leave the scene of an accident that you caused, keep everyone involved under lock and key or at least make sure they have all their belongings that might have been left at the accident scene.

But it isn’t.

Obviously, one should not drive drunk. Clearly, one should not drive without a valid license. However, even if those two pieces of free legal advice are too difficult to follow, it is simply making matters worse to leave the scene of the accident. You are unlikely to escape prosecution and you will be adding to your woes. Not only will you now be facing heavier charges, but you will have demonstrated an intent and attitude that is not usually accepted with a smile by local law enforcement or the judiciary.

Taking the extra step of then adding fraud to the mix is even more foolhardy.

Confessing to the police and then still following through on the fraudulent claim is…hard to believe.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation like the Defendant, you are best advised to not make the situation worse. Do not flee. Do not fraud. Do not volunteer. Do comply. Do get in touch with an experienced criminal law attorney to advise and best help you deal with the difficult situation.

…now, where have I read those words before….?

The full article of this story can be found at :
http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.asp?a=top_lh&neID=200810211180.3.299_758100000124be21

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