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Lowell Man Heading to Prison for Role in Auto-Insurance Scam

Apr 5, 2007

By Lisa Redmond, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.

Apr. 6--CAMBRIDGE -- A 22-year-old Lowell man will spend a year behind bars before paying $1,200 in restitution for his part in an auto-insurance fraud scheme.

Joseph Hamilton pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court yesterday to two counts each of insurance fraud and larceny over $250, and one count of operating to endanger.

Prosecutors allege that on three separate dates in April and May of 2004, Eric Bonnette of Worcester, who was allegedly working for two insurance-fraud "runners" -- Mercy Encarncion and Damaris Matos, also of Worcester -- recruited three people to loan their cars to stage collisions.

On April 21, 2004, Hamilton was involved in a staged accident in which a Volvo, driven by Hamilton, was struck on purpose. After the collision, all the passengers in the Volvo filed claims with insurance companies for coverage of medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering they claimed were related to the collision.

The case was investigated by the Insurance Fraud Bureau's Lowell Task Force.

Judge Stephen

Neel sentenced Hamilton to two years in the Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica, with one year to serve. The remaining year of Hamilton's sentence is suspended for one year, during which time he will be on probation and required to pay $1,200 in restitution.

In a separate case, Svoeuth Buth, 46 and Suorsdey Kun, 39, both of Lowell, were arraigned yesterday in Lowell District Court on charges related to another alleged auto-insurance scheme.

Buth was charged with three counts of insurance fraud, two counts each of attempted larceny over $250 and conspiracy, and one count of larceny over $250.

Kun was charged with two counts of conspiracy.

Prosecutors allege that after an investigation, the task force determined that Buth allegedly claimed to be injured as a passenger in a car driven by Kun in an accident on Feb. 16, 2005, on Burlington Avenue in Lowell.

Buth sought medical treatment and physical therapy. He also submitted a personal-injury claim while a passenger in a car driven by Kun during an accident Aug. 27, 2005, on Branch Street in Lowell.

It is alleged that Buth was not a passenger in either the February or August accidents.

Judge James McGuinness released both men on personal recognizance. Their next court date is June 19.

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Copyright (c) 2007, The Sun, Lowell, Mass.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

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