After a year-long investigation in San Diego, Calif., detectives have made eight arrests and dismantled a staged auto collision ring. As a result of the arrests, the hackneyed saying “tools of the trade,” may take on a brand new meaning for these fraudsters.

Each of the numerous collisions involved both a “hammer” vehicle, and a “nail” vehicle. The hammer vehicle was abandoned at the scene prior to police arrival, while the passenger in what was referred to as the nail vehicle claimed soft-tissue injuries and treatment at a local hospital. Following a hospital visit, the suspects then filed personal injury claims with insurers, and, in order to avoid hospital bills, had payment checks sent directly to them. To date, seven insurance carriers have paid out more than $200,000 to suspects involved in a total of 11 staged collisions.

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