Macon – A Decatur auto body shop owner pleaded guilty Monday to staging car crashes and inflicting intentional damage on customers’ cars to pocket larger insurance payments.
Alfonzo McKeever, 55, pleaded guilty to racketeering just before his trial was set to begin in Bibb County Superior Court. A judge sentenced him to serve 15 years. McKeever, of Stone Mountain, must serve the first two years in prison and the remainder on probation. He also must join his co-defendants in paying more than $19,000 in restitution to Geico Insurance Company and more than $15,000 to Progressive insurance.
If the case had gone to trial, prosecutors Matt Bridges and Kyle Owenby would have presented evidence showing:
Between November 2013 and February 2015, McKeever operated the Impact Solutions body shop and The Viaduct Group Inc. used car lot, both located on Covington Highway in Decatur.
Claims were called into the Geico Insurance Claims unit located in Macon and to Progressive in attempts to fraudulently collect insurance proceeds.
While investigating five suspicious insurance claims, The Office of the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner determined McKeever conspired to stage car crashes, some using vehicles from McKeever’s car lot. In some cases, customers participated in the fraud.
After examining photos and other evidence, investigators found inconsistencies in the physical evidence showing the crashes didn’t occur as McKeever and his co-defendants had claimed. For example, paint wasn’t transferred when McKeever and 54-year-old Terrance Gerrard White claimed White’s Lexus had struck McKeever’s Mercedes-Benz in a grocery store parking lot. None of the damage on the Mercedes-Benz lined up with a part of the Lexus that could have caused the damage.
The investigation also showed McKeever inflicted additional damage on cars he’d been contracted to repair. For example, a customer hired McKeever to repair a small amount of damage from when a car slid on an icy road and into a light pole. By the time an insurance adjuster examined the car, it had significantly more damage, including a deployed airbag. Further investigation revealed damage to the car was consistent with at least three separate impacts. Another claim involved 38-year-old Quandos Williams’s report that he sideswiped a parked car at McKeever’s shop. Further investigation showed the damage to the two vehicles wasn’t consistent with a sideswipe impact and a substantial amount of damage was caused by some type of tool.
White also pleaded guilty to racketeering on Monday and was sentenced to serve seven years on probation.
An additional seven co-defendants had previously pleaded guilty to racketeering: Patricia Ann Staples, 57, of Lithonia; Vickey Jessica Mack, 27, of Atlanta; Teresa Necole Scott, 36, of McDonough; Joseph Bernard Favors, 28, of Atlanta; Dana Louise Brown, 49, of Atlanta; Breanna Alexis Woods, 24, of Atlanta; and Quandros Williams, 38, of Atlanta.
Staples, Mack, Scott, Favors, Brown, Woods and Williams each were sentenced to serve seven years on probation and pay restitution.
Speaking after the hearing, Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke said, “Insurance companies shouldn’t have to look at their customers with an increasingly skeptical eye, but fraud like this makes that a reality as hardworking people struggle to pay for insurance and are faced with greater difficulty in trying to collect on legitimate claims. When scammers target insurance companies, it’s a bill that we all have to pay. Anyone who considers a scheme like this one should expect to face serious consequences when they’re caught and their portion of the bill comes due.”
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Contact: Amy Leigh Womack