Otis Orchards woman, Nevada man sentenced to prison for roles in insurance fraud conspiracy

Spokane will share in $8M MacArthur grant

SPOKANE, Wash. – An Otis Orchards woman and a Nevada man were sentenced Tuesday for staging accidents to collect insurance payouts over the course of several years.

Teresa Ann Gonzalez, 62, and Michael Adam White, 40, were two of several people involved in the large fraud scheme. According to the original indictment, several co-conspirators were involved in approximately 33 staged accidents.

Court documents indicated most of the planned accidents were two-vehicle accidents on remote roads and at night when there were no witnesses other than the co-conspirator accounts.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Gonzalez was involved in a staged automobile accident in Spokane that defrauded an insurance company out of $236,324. She received more than $13,000 of the fraud proceeds.

White was involved in four staged accidents that defrauded insurance companies out of more than $1.8 million. He received approximately $50,000 of the fraud proceeds.

Gonzalez was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison, while White was sentenced to 14 months. Their terms will both be followed by three years of court supervision.

Both Gonzalez and White pleaded guilty to one count of mail and wire fraud conspiracy in June 2019. White additionally admitted to four counts of mail fraud.

“Staging phony car accidents on our streets poses a significant danger to innocent citizens and results in higher insurance premiums,” said U.S. Attorney William Hyslop. “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington, along with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate and prosecute aggressively those individuals who may perpetrate such fraud.”

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