Nine people, including Spokane developer Ron Wells, plead guilty in massive fraud case

Nine people, including Spokane developer Ron Wells, plead guilty in massive fraud case

Nine people, including prominent Spokane developer Ron Wells, have pleaded guilty in a massive case of fraud in which the participants smashed cars into each other and committed other staged accidents in four western states to collect more than $6 million from insurance companies.

Wells pleaded guilty to nine counts. He was one of many indicted in a scheme where people are accused of faking accidents in order to collect insurance money. According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, eight other people pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the scheme.

Wells will be sentenced on the charges on July 31. Court documents state if a judge orders him to be incarcerated for his crimes, he will be immediately taken into custody.

Wells, who has developed multiple major projects in Spokane including the ongoing renovation of the Ridpath Hotel, was indicted in December on charges that included mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and other charges.

According to the original indictment, Wells and two co-conspirators staged an accident in 2016. Federal prosecutors say a truck registered to Wells was intentionally driven into another vehicle, which was registered to one of the co-conspirators in the case. The indictment states Wells and one of the co-conspirators suffered injuries in the crash and filed insurance claims.

Safeco paid out $338,266.75 for the accident. Wells received $59,557 and paid off the balance of the vehicle involved in the accident.

At the time of his indictment, Wells’ attorney said Wells was in a medically-induced coma but intended to assist the government in the investigation and planned to take full responsibility for his actions.
In exchange for his guilty plea on nine counts, the government dismissed some of the other charges against him.

Wells faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on some of the charges to which he has pleaded guilty. Court documents state the government will recommend a higher offense level when considering sentencing “because the offense involved sophisticated means and [Wells] intentionally engaged in or caused the conduct constituting sophisticated means.” The government also said Wells is subject to some leniency because he was a “minimal participant” in the overall scheme.

The court documents also state Wells will pay $179,876.56 in restitution.

The case involves 22 defendants accused of deliberately staging a series of automobile, boating, stair fall, pedestrian/vehicle and other accidents in Washington, Idaho, Nevada and California from 2013 to 2018. The following people have also pleaded guilty:

Ryan Folks Park of Spokane: 14 counts of mail frraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, two counts of conducting monetary transactions in criminally derived property, one count of conspiracy to conduct monterary transaction in criminally derived property
Kimberly Rita Boito of Spokane: three counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, two counts of conducting monetary transactions in criminally derived property, one count of conspiracy to conduct monetary transaction in criminally derived property
Christopher Joseph Fangella of Nine Mile Falls: five counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud
Bonnie Jean Bonney of Placerville, CA: five counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud
Brittany Jo Harris of Newport: two counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud
Stephanie Stock of San Jose, CA: one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud
Matthew David Carter of Las Vegas, NV: four counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud
Jason Allan Westfall of Las Vegas, NV:two counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud

The Department of Justice said eleven other defendents have been named in an indictment and are awaiting trial.

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