Rash of Coffee-Spill Car Crashes Linked to Insurance Scam

Thirty-three people who wrecked cars on purpose after claiming to spill coffee on themselves have been charged with insurance fraud in San Jose, prosecutors said.

The “Coffee Break” ring, which allegedly took in $500,000 in fraudulent insurance claims, was broken up, officials said, when an alert California Highway Patrol investigator noticed that too many people in Santa Clara County were spilling too much coffee.

In a typical claim, a suspect would intentionally crash a car into one or two other vehicles owned by fellow fakers.

Insurance companies would pay the full salvage value of the cars, which were often used again to stage more crashes, said Charlotte Chang, a deputy district attorney for Santa Clara County. Several suspects filed multiple fake claims under multiple fake names, she said.

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