Kennewick Man pleads guilty to conspiring to obstruct official process, lying to the FBI and for his role in an organized accident scheme | USAO-EDWA


Defendant tried to shove the case by falsely accusing an FBI agent and another individual defendant suspected of being an FBI informant of soliciting a $20,000 bribe

Spokane, Wash. – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Ali Abed Yaser, 52, of Kennewick, Wash., has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct official process , false statements to the FBI, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and two counts of mail fraud. Yaser faces the following maximum possible legal penalties: 20 years for each count of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and conspiracy to obstruct official process; 10 years for criminal conspiracy to commit medical fraud; and 5 years for making a false statement to the FBI. The court can also impose a fine of up to $250,000, the payment of restitution and a period of judicial supervision of 5 years. U.S. District Judge Mary K. Dimke will determine any sentence after considering U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Yaser is due to be sentenced on January 16, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. in Richland, Washington.

US Attorney Waldref said, “Staging a car accident to enrich yourself negatively impacts the entire community by increasing insurance rates for law-abiding drivers. Worse still, after learning that he was under investigation for staging a car accident and defrauding insurance companies, Mr. Yaser repeatedly chose to obstruct official proceedings and conceal his violations of federal law by lying to investigators, falsely accusing an FBI agent of soliciting a $20,000 bribe. , threatening a potential witness and manipulating evidence. Yaser’s corrupt conduct threatened the integrity of the proceedings and was intended to prevent his criminal activities from ever being discovered.

According to court documents, in February 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) opened a formal investigation into allegations that several people were involved in a scheme to defraud insurance companies by staging car accidents and filing false and fraudulent insurance claims. businesses, in violation of federal criminal laws. As part of the investigation, the FBI used a Confidential Human Source (CHS) who secretly recorded conversations with people believed to be involved in the staged crash plan. A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Washington then convened to further investigate the scheme by Yaser and his co-defendants.

During the investigation, the FBI discovered that on May 28, 2019, Yaser staged a car accident on Highway 12 in Benton County, Washington. The staged accident involved a Hyundai Sonata, driven by another individual deliberately driven in a Lexus IS driven by Yaser. At the time, a credit union held a lien of approximately $30,018.78 on the Lexus. Yaser later filed fraudulent insurance claims stating that he had been involved in an accident and suffered bodily injury and lost wages. Yaser was never injured as he was not even in the vehicle at the time of the impact. An insurance company paid Yaser and others about $126,990.

In May 2020, the FBI executed warrants to search several residences in Washington and California for evidence of federal crimes. Afterwards, Yaser held a meeting at his residence because he suspected someone was providing information to the FBI and warned the CHS to be careful of this person.

In August 2020, Yaser told CHS that he learned that the person Yaser suspected of being an FBI informant had recently visited CHS. Yaser chastised the CHS for not calling him when the alleged informant came to the CHS. Yaser told CHS he allegedly came to his house, closed the garage door, turned off the security system cameras and killed the individual he suspected was the FBI informant. Yaser told the CHS “they wouldn’t have recognized his face from his foot.”

Yaser further encouraged the CHS to call the person Yaser thought was the FBI informant and convince the person to meet Yaser at his residence. Yaser ordered the CHS to send an audio recording of a conversation between the CHS and the alleged informant. Yasir told CHS, “the recording, you know, won’t go to the government.” A few days later, Yaser met with CHS and discussed plans to file a false, fictitious, and fraudulent complaint against the FBI agent and alleged FBI informant. Yaser also sought to persuade others to support this plan to make false allegations against the FBI agent and alleged informant. Specifically, Yaser wanted an audio recording of the alleged informant that Yaser could tap into and use to discredit the FBI agent in the case against Yaser.

In late August 2020, Yaser discussed fabricating a story to release to local police and the FBI as part of the plan to discredit the FBI agent and the individual Yaser suspected of being an FBI informant. and make them unavailable as witnesses. Yaser’s ultimate goal was to get the FBI agent off the case. Yaser said in summary, “We will file a complaint with the police and the police will pass it on to them. [FBI]” and “[t]The police will turn it on them, it won’t take half an hour and it will get to them.

In September 2020, when questioned by the FBI, Yaser attempted to dismiss the case against him by falsely accusing the FBI agent and the individual Yaser suspected of being an FBI informant, d solicited a bribe of approximately $20,000 from a third party. nobody. In doing so, Yaser engaged in deceptive conduct toward FBI agents with intent to obstruct, delay, and prevent the communication to those agents and to a United States judge of information relating to the commission and potential commission of federal offences. He also attempted to obstruct, influence and bribe official proceedings, i.e. proceedings before a federal grand jury and criminal proceedings before a judge and court in the United States. .

“Yaser and his co-conspirators went to great lengths not only to commit crimes, but also to cover them up and attempt to undermine the integrity of officers and the judicial process,” said Richard A. Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI. Seattle Field Office. “There are no victimless crimes. This fraud creates a financial burden for insured drivers as their rates increase due to staged accidents. »

“Yaser’s deceptive actions violated laws covering the jurisdictions of multiple federal agencies. The fraud perpetrated by the defendant partly exploited federal health care programs,” said Steven J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS- OIG). “Our agency works diligently alongside other law enforcement agencies, sues bad actors who target HHS programs.”

“Mr. Yaser took strong action to thwart this investigation, but these actions were ultimately unsuccessful due to the diligent efforts of the case officers, who investigated this matter,” said Special Agent in Charge Bret Kressin, IRS Criminal Investigation, Seattle Field Office. “Mr. Yaser even lied and bullied others in hopes of making his crime go away. Unfortunately for him, Mr. Yaser has learned that our law enforcement team does not back down when it comes to holding fraudsters accountable for their actions.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the National Insurance Crime Desk. This case is being prosecuted by George JC Jacobs, III, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

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