Three people who allegedly purposely caused accidents on Los Angeles County freeways — including some in which motorists were severely injured — to collect money from insurance companies were charged Monday with assault with a deadly weapon and insurance fraud.
Eduardo Retana, 25, Ausencio Gomez, 46, and Victor Valle-Diaz, 55, all from Los Angeles County, are set to be arraigned Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The case stems from 15 accidents involving 21 alleged victims — some of whom suffered severe injuries, according to the District Attorney’s Office, which did not state the freeways in which the accidents were staged.
Insurance companies were allegedly defrauded of nearly $330,000, prosecutors said.
Retana is charged with 11 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 10 counts of insurance fraud, while Gomez is charged with 10 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and nine counts of insurance fraud and Valle-Diaz is charged with eight counts of assault with a deadly weapon and four counts of insurance fraud.
“Purposefully causing automobile collisions can cause grave injuries or even death for the innocent victims of an automobile insurance scheme,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement announcing the charges.
The case is being investigated by the California Department of Insurance.