Hillsborough County
David Gee, Sheriff
Tampa, FL
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    Release Number: 10-270

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • September 22, 2010
    • Contact Person:
    • Larry McKinnon : lmckinno@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813-247-8094

    Deputy Honored For Uncovering Staged Crash Scams

    Staged traffic crashes investigation earns HCSO deputy national recognition.
    • Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    • Tampa, FL
    (Excerpt from IASIU Honors Investigative Excellence - Investigative - Claims Magazine)

    Each year the International Association of Special Investigation Units (IASIU) seeks out a handful of special people in its community who go the extra mile to advance its mission of combating insurance fraud.

    On Monday, 09/13/10, the IASIU presented its 2010 Public Service Award to Deputy Robert Gogolin. "Deputy Gogolin has gone beyond the call in working to combat insurance fraud. His investigative instincts helped break open one of the largest staged crash rings in the U.S."

    "Longtime experience in investigating auto accidents led Gogolin to conclude that something wasn't right when crash after crash contained the same suspicious elements. Each was a multiple vehicle accident with drivers and passengers who had no apparent connections with each other."

    "Upon arriving at the scene, Gogolin noticed each victim seemed to be well educated about how to play the role of accident victim and knew what documents needed to ready to process the accident report. Insurance information, vehicle registrations and driver licenses were always out and ready at hand."

    These were not typical auto accidents." Gogolin took the initiative to start mapping out these accidents, detailing the time and location of each. After compiling two months of data, suspicions were confirmed. Armed with this information, he reached out to the S.I.U. community and learned that insurance investigators had compiled similar data and shared the same suspicions."

    "Gogolin took the initiative to learn from his new colleagues in the private sector and quickly became educated about the intricacies of staging automobile accidents for profit."

    "This newly gained knowledge was shared with fellow officers and soon this local police agency had a new focus on these fraud schemes. Dubbed "Operation Crash for Cash," these efforts help to give police officers arriving on accident scenes a sharper eye for the nuanced signs of fraud. Drivers and passengers were questioned in more detail, which lead to several confessions at the scene and subsequent arrests."

    "In a few short months, this joint industry-law enforcement effort cultivated a significant network of confidential informants that helped to gather evidence about this crash ring."

    "As a result, 54 people were charged with racketeering and filing false police reports. Shady clinics were shut down and the streets now are a bit safer from these costly and dangerous schemes."

    "The operation continues on, but the fact remains that prior to Gogolin's involvement, law enforcement investigation of staged crashes was virtually non-existent. Today, police are on full alert and are fully engaged. thanks to the winner of the 2010 Public Service Award."
  • Sheriff David Gee
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