Couple convicted in staged accident, fraud scheme

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Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photos of Jose Velez and April Wynn

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville couple were both convicted this week in a staged accident and insurance fraud scheme.

Jose Velez, 30, and April Wynn, 23, were convicted of knowingly participating in an intentional motor vehicle crash and four counts of false insurance claims. The charges stemmed from a staged accident that occurred on May 12, 2012.

In 2012, the State Attorney's Office and the Division of Insurance Fraud began an investigation into a series of staged accidents in Duval County. The investigation discovered that Velez and Wynn, who are now married, recruited family members and friends to participate in fake car accidents with them and then file Personal Injury Protection claims through rehab clinics. The clinics were the mechanisms used to provide bogus treatment to the staged accident participants for non-existent injuries.

Nearly 100 individuals have been arrested in this scheme over the last 18 months. Several have been sentenced, including one of the ringleaders, David Rodriguez Lopez, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of schemes to defraud over $50,000, false insurance claims over $100,000, and knowingly participating in an intentional motor vehicle crash. Other cases are currently pending.

Velez and Wynn face up to 20 years in prison. They will be sentenced the week of July 28. The two still have other charges pending for other accidents they are alleged to have staged.

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