District Attorney reports arrest of suspects in vehicle collision scam
A pair of suspected scam artists, who were described as “nomadic” by the District Attorney’s office, have now been charged with defrauding drivers and insurance companies after they were found to be pretending to get struck and injured by cars backing out of parking spaces. The targeted victims of the scam were said to be mostly elderly drivers. One of them was 93-years-old.
The defendants were arraigned on Thursday, April 9 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose. They were alleged to have staged at least four accidents and used multiple aliases, switching roles as either a nearby witness or the injured party.
Anthony Thompson, 30, used names such as Joseph Morrison, David Coden, Sean Muller and David Yurman. His partner Shasha Siganoff, 27, called herself Nina Siganoff, Sasha Miller, Sasha Mollen, Jessica Clamon and Gabriella Sazzi, using the false names to try to avoid detection. Thompson is charged with 16 felony counts and is in custody with bail is set at $160,000. Siganoff is charged with 10 felony counts and is also currently in custody, with her bail set at $100,000. The charges they are facing include making false claims, grand theft, and participating in a vehicle collision for a false purpose. Thompson faces a maximum of more than 18 years in prison, and Siganoff faces a maximum of more than 11 years if they are convicted. Their next court date is Thursday, April 30.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Christine Garcia–Sen said “These were not harmless pranksters, but highly organized scam artists who repeatedly preyed on the elderly. We are concerned that this scheme was widespread and often unreported.”
An insurance company contacted the D.A.’s Urban Auto Task Force and the State Department of Insurance, who worked together to uncover the ongoing scam. The charges include incidents from February to December 2013 in drug store, restaurant, and shopping center parking lots in both San Jose and Santa Clara. Each incident would involve one of the defendants standing behind a parked vehicle, then loudly slapping its rear as the driver pulled out. Then the “victim” would then act injured, even going to the hospital to complain of pains. That “victim”, Thompson or Siganoff, would make an insurance claim against the innocent, usually elderly driver. Evidence shows that they were paid more than $18,000 for their faked injuries.
The investigation was a collaboration of the District Attorney’s Office, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the Department of Insurance. Anyone witnessing this kind of activity should identify themselves to the driver as a witness, or call the police to file an official report. Anyone who may have any information about the defendants, especially other potential victims, are encouraged to contact Investigator Dale Morgan at (408) 201-8808.