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Seven Suspects Arrested in Insurance Fraud Case by State Police


 

Lafayette Parish- Today, Louisiana State Police detectives assigned to the Lafayette Field Office, assisted by the United States Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force and the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested seven people, and are still looking for one person, for wire fraud and conspiracy.  The arrests stemmed from a federal indictment handed down by a federal grand jury.

As a result of a complaint received from the Louisiana Department of Insurance, detectives began a year long investigation into allegations of persons staging vehicle crashes.  The staged crashes took place from 2003 until 2010.  All of the suspects filed claims with insurance companies in an attempt to receive proceeds from fraudulent property and injury claims.  

The investigation revealed that the group targeted unsuspecting operators of large commercial motor vehicles.  In one incident, the group intentionally crashed into a commercial truck carrying hazardous material.  The majority of the staged crashes occurred on the multilane portions of US Highway 90 in Lafayette Parish.  Investigators discovered that the suspects obtained in excess of $400,000.00 in proceeds from these crashes.  

Based on the evidence detectives obtained, the Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana convened a grand jury.  On May 12, 2011, the grand jury handed down indictments on all of the individuals involved.  

This morning, the following individuals were arrested based on the indictments:

Oliver B. Lockett (B/M, age 42) Lafayette, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count); Wire Fraud (4 counts)

Warren Lockett (B/M, age 24) Jeanerette, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)

Kenneth Randall (B/M, age 36) Carencro, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)

Buddy Estelle (W/M, age 50) Lydia, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)

Shantelle Estelle (W/F, age 26) Lydia, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)

Amy Estelle (W/F, age 27) Lydia, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)

Joseph Owens Jr. (W/M, age 53) Lydia, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)

All of the individuals were taken to the federal courthouse in Lafayette to appear before the magistrate on the charges with the exception of Oliver Lockett.  Oliver Lockett was arrested this morning by the United States Marshal’s Office in Williston, ND.  

Currently, detectives and US Marshal’s are still looking for Wardell Lockett (B/M, age 28) Lydia, LA.  Wardell Lockett is wanted for Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count).  Anyone with information on Wardell Lockett’s whereabouts is asked to call the United States Marshal’s Office at 337-251-6921.

Detectives credit a close working relationship with the Louisiana Department of Insurance, National Insurance Crime Bureau, United States Marshal’s Office, Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Attorney General’s Office in the successful arrests of these individuals.  

If convicted under the wire fraud statute, the suspects could be imprisoned for up to 20 years.  If convicted under the conspiracy to commit wire fraud statute, the suspect could be imprisoned for up to 5 years.    

Anyone wishing to report suspected insurance fraud cases is urged to call Louisiana State Police at 337-262-3341.  Information may also be submitted to the Louisiana Department of Insurance website at www.ldi.state.la.us.  All information will remain confidential.    

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