Alleged ringleader of massive insurance fraud scheme appears in federal court

SPOKANE, Wash. - The man accused of orchestrating a massive multi-state insurance fraud scheme that hit Spokane, Liberty Lake and Coeur d'Alene appeared in federal district court Wednesday.

William Mize and 21 others, including his wife, son and daughter, as well as prominent Spokane developer Ron Wells, were named in a federal indictment handed down in December. They're accused of staging 33 accidents over the course of five years to collect more than $6 million in insurance settlements.

Prosecutors said in court Wednesday authorities found a handful of fake ID's during a search of Mize's home last May -- one of which had Mize's face and Wells' name on it.

Mize pleaded not guilty to 87 counts of fraud. If convicted of just one count of mail fraud, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Judge John T. Rogers ruled as this case continues, the government has the right to seize any property used or gained in this alleged insurance scheme. He ruled Mize can now only file insurance claims for himself and is not allowed to handle money for others. Mize must stay in the eastern district of Washington, but is allowed to travel to Nevada to visit family.

Under Rogers' ruling, Mize will still be able to talk to the family members named in the indictment, just not about the case. Mize will also need to pay a $750,000 surety bond.

Mize remains free during court proceedings.

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