FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- July 16, 2019
Contact: Scott Alonso, 925-957-8638 office; 925-536-8110 cell
District Attorney’s Office Announces Four Convicted in Organized Fraud Ring in Theft in Excess of $100,000
Martinez, Calif. – On Monday July 15, 2019, defendants Cornelius Salmer, Antoinette Green, Benisha Seldon, and Jonnie Gilbert pleaded guilty to insurance fraud for their roles in an organized fraud ring. The defendants submitted fraudulent auto insurance claims in excess of $100,000 to insurance companies using multiple vehicles and stolen identities.
Cornelius Salmer pleaded no contest to six felonies, including three counts of filing a false insurance claim in violation of Penal Code section 550(a)(1) and three felony counts of identity theft in violation of Penal Code section 530.5. Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge David Goldstein sentenced him to three years in prison and ordered him to pay $63,217.26 of restitution pursuant to the terms of the plea.
Benisha Seldon and Antoinette Green each pleaded no contest to two felonies for filing a false insurance claim in violation of Penal Code section 550(a)(1) and identity theft in violation of Penal Code section 530.5. Judge Goldstein sentenced Benisha Seldon to three years of formal probation and 180 days of jail and ordered her to pay $32,597.02 restitution pursuant to the plea terms. Judge Goldstein also sentenced Antoinette Green to three years of formal probation and 180 days of jail and ordered her to pay $19,414.17 restitution.
Jonnie Gilbert pleaded no contest to a single count of receiving stolen property as a misdemeanor and received a sentence of two years probation, 30 days jail, and $2,450.52 of restitution pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement.
The case originated with a referral from the analysts at the National Insurance Crime Bureau that triggered a joint investigation by the California Department of Insurance, the California Highway Patrol, and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. Investigators linked multiple insurance claims to the defendants and identified a corridor of suspected mail theft along the Interstate 5 freeway by locating and interviewing the identity theft victims. The investigators traced the money from the fraudulent claims to identify and arrest the charged defendants for this fraud conspiracy.
Deputy District Attorney Greg Chiarella prosecuted the case. DDA Chiarella is assigned to our Auto Insurance Fraud Unit.
The District Attorney’s fraud units investigate and prosecute all forms of insurance fraud, including false claims activity, organized fraud rings, health care provider fraud and kickback schemes, industry insider fraud, and employer premium fraud. You can report suspected insurance fraud by email to DA-ReportFraud@contracostada.org.