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Have you been tempted to get rid of that piece of crap car you’ve been driving for 10 years by torching it, crashing it or having it stolen for auto insurance money? You’re apparently not alone. These five wannabe scammers made their best (and dumbest) attempts at committing auto insurance fraud to make a quick buck.
1. Jail Time for a Scammer Groom
In the United Kingdom county of Manchester, a bridegroom and his parents were jailed for a year after making false compensation claims.
Andrew Singh, 26, his mother Niramella and father Graham claimed they were injured in two minor crashes involving some of their wedding party. They sued the operator of the bus they chartered then submitted a video that they said could prove they’d been in the bus.
The only problem is that further in the tape, Singh and his family could be seen dancing and having a ball after the accident. They had sued the company for £1,500 each but ended up having to pay £73,000 in court costs.
2. When Posting on YouTube Goes Wrong
A brother and sister duo thought it would be cool to commit insurance fraud by making false collision claims on two separate occasions. The first time, Jay Xi Chen claimed his sister Tracy Chen Chen had crashed his Nissan GT-R, but then withdrew his claim. The second time, only two and a half months later, he filed another claim for the same vehicle, claiming he had crashed it this time.
The guy naively made two mistakes, however. First, he forgot that his car had been at a local collision repair shop for two months and therefore couldn’t have been in the second accident. Not to mention that there was a video posted on YouTube of the car crashing into a wall. Ultimately, they were charged with seven combined counts of felony insurance fraud and faced five years of prison.
3. Teacher’s Fraud Attempt Goes Up In Flames
Tramesha Lashon Fox, a Houston high school chemistry teacher, decided she was tired of making her monthly car payments and gave a couple of her failing students As in exchange for a little car theft and arson.
Her students did the deed but couldn’t hold their tongues about the incident. As a result, the teacher was busted, lost her job and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Well, at least she no longer had to worry about her car insurance payments
4. Two Couples, One Really Dumb Idea
Robert and Teresa Hammond, along with Margaret Dillavou and Paul Gaines from Illinois came up with the really bad idea of crashing the Hammonds’ car into a tree to collect a sizable insurance claim. They even videotaped the entire event.
The only problem is that some time later, after Dillavou and Gaines started a divorcing process, Gaines found the videotape that Dillavou had lost. The bitter soon-to-be ex-husband turned the tape into the authorities and scored the two men and women 24 months of probation.
5. Insurance Fraud Attempt Turns into a Muddy Situation
Matthew Mueller of Akron, Ohio tried his best to commit a great fraudulent act when he decided his 1997 BMW’s insurance problems were too much to bear. Instead of getting the car fixed, he rented a backhoe, buried the car on his father’s rural property and reported the car stolen.
This would have worked had he not had second thoughts about his decision. He tried to dig the car out with the same backhoe. Unfortunately, it got stuck in the mud. With evidence that he’d committed fraud for everyone to see, his muddy situation landed him a year in jail.
Photo: Will Merydith
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents. In fact, a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that 80 percent of crashes involve some form of driver distraction.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to cease all activity that distracts you from watching the road. To help you out, here are 10 of the top distractions that cause car accidents.
#1: Talking On the Cell Phone
Yep, that’s right. Gabbing on the phone with your BFF could result in a devastating accident. So if you must take a call, it’s recommended that you pull over to do so.
Texting while driving is considered worse than talking on the phone because you have to remove your eyes from the road to read or type a text. It’s so bad, in fact, that it’s now banned in 32 states, D.C. and Guam.
#3: Personal Prepping
Women applying makeup and guys checking themselves out in the mirror are huge distractions. If you must do either, you should pull the car over, or even better, take care of it before leaving the house.
Another major distraction is parents turning around to yell at their kids. Of course, this should be avoided to keep both you and your kids safe.
Trying to scarf down that morning breakfast or drink that hot cup of coffee is a huge distraction on the road. Why? Because you have to look down to grab whatever you’re trying to eat or drink. Not to mention that dropping or spilling the item could make you take your eyes off the road.
Why someone would choose their moment behind the wheel to begin reading a newspaper is baffling. But people do it and doing it causes accidents. If you want to avoid an unnecessary car crash, wait until you get to your destination to read that story you’ve been dying to know about.
#7: Staring at Attractive People
Believe it or not, in Colombia, South America, men staring at women accounted for one in 20 crashes in 2005. While this type of distraction isn’t a stats-maker in the U.S., there’s something to be said for this behavior. There’s nothing wrong with checking someone out, but hopefully it’s not being done at the expense of safety.
#8: Using a Navigation System
Most people don’t think operating their vehicle’s navigation system while en route is a problem. But when being used during transit, it could be a huge distraction. To avoid any problems, set up the trip before leaving for your destination or pull over to use this system.
#9: Watching a Video
Many cars nowadays come with DVD players, but this doesn’t mean that driver is supposed to use their transit time to watch the latest movie. For obvious reasons, don’t drive and watch a video. Wait until you’ve reached your destination to do this.
#10: Changing a Radio Station
Some drivers have mastered the art of changing a radio station, CD or Mp3 player without taking their eyes off the road. This is rare, however. If you’re not the best multi-tasker, it’s best to wait until you stop at a light to change your music selection since doing so at the wrong time could result in an accident.