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L.A. Lawyer and Five Others Arrested for Scam Accidents and Insurance Fraud

04/18/96

United Press International reported that Stephen Olshan and five accomplices were arrested Tuesday on charges of staging more than 100 automobile accidents to collect $20 million in fraudulent insurance claims.

California's State Insurance Commissioner said that Olshan, a 54 year old Los Angeles Lawyer, is suspected of organizing the fraud ring, which staged the accidents in South-Central Los Angeles. Olshan allegedly paid accomplices Darryl Thornton and Oliver Manuel Morgan to recruit drivers, stage collisions, and refer the cases back to him

Most of the accidents happened in South-Central L.A. The suspects caused collisions by pulling rapidly into oncoming traffic from a curb or by slamming on the brakes while driving in front of their victims. Olshan typically settled claims with insurance carriers for $10,000 to $20,000. The total cost of Olshan's scheme is estimated at more than $20 million.

Olshan was arrested on suspicion of insurance fraud, tax evasion and tax fraud, grand theft, capping and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and assault with a deadly weapon. His wife was arrested on suspicion of tax fraud and tax evasion. Olshan and his wife allegedly filed fraudulent income tax returns for 1991 and 1992, and have not filed any tax returns since 1993.

Other arrests in the case were reported as follows:

  • Thornton, 39, of Monrovia, and Morgan, 48, of Inglewood. Both were being held on suspicion of insurance fraud and numerous conspiracy allegations, including insurance fraud, grand theft, assault with a deadly weapon and capping.
  • Attorney Edgar Russell Carver, 79, of Sherman Oaks. He was arrested on suspicion of unlawful referrals for allegedly allowing Olshan to use his name and Santa Monica law office when filing the claims.
  • Retired chiropractor Kenneth Paul Blanker, 62, of Lake Havasu. Blanker was arrested on conspiracy allegations, including assault with a deadly weapon, insurance fraud, grand theft and capping.

Paul Dever -- The Auto Channel