Lawrence man says he allowed his car and name to be used in phony crash

Published: 2011-04-20 19:12:00
Author: Mark E. Vogler | Eagle Tribune | April 20, 2011

In the fall of 2002, Francisco Carrero recalled that he had just broken up with his girlfriend and was living with friends because he was having money problems.

"I wanted to get my own place," the 44-year-old Lawrence man testified yesterday when asked by Assistant State Attorney General William R. Freeman how he got involved with a phony car accident.

Carrero identified Leo Lopez and Christopher Ortega — key prosecution witnesses — as the Lawrence men who recruited him to participate in an Oct. 1, 2002, crash as part of an insurance scam. He allowed them to use his 1995 Ford Explorer to be one of the cars involved in a two-vehicle crash.

"They offered me $500," Carrero said of the money he was supposed to get paid for use of his Ford Explorer. He noted that he was expecting to make an additional $500 apiece for the other people who were in the Explorer with him.

Since the operator's report listed four other people in the Explorer, Carrero stood to make $2,500 from the scam.

But Carrero said he never made any money in connection for the accident for which he was later arrested on multiple charges related to auto insurance fraud.

The alleged Oct. 1, 2002 crash is one of three "paper accidents" that are the basis of the prosecution's case against the three men on trial for auto insurance fraud in Salem Superior Court:

- North Andover chiropractic clinic operator Michael H. Kaplan, 49, of Hampstead, N.H. He is charged with three counts of filing a false auto insurance claim, two counts of larceny over $250 and two counts of attempted larceny over $250, These charges are related to three "paper accidents" — Oct. 1, 2002, Oct. 10, 2002 and Dec. 20, 2002.

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