Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell announced on May 3, 2023, the sentencing of a Holbrook resident, Dion Augustin, 26, to 2.5 years in prison for an automobile insurance fraud scheme prosecuted by her office. Mr. Augustin pleaded guilty in March to a series of fraudulently obtained high-end luxury cars, staged accidents, and hefty insurance claims.
After a referral to the Attorney General’s (AG) office by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) of Massachusetts, the AG’s office investigation into Mr. Augustin’s activities laid bare the details of Mr. Augustin’s elaborate scheme that took place from August 2016 through December 2017, during this period, Augustin purchased an impressive array of luxury vehicles, including a Bentley, a Maserati, and two Fisker Karmas.
Referral by Insurance Fraud Bureau and investigation by the Attorney General’s Office
Mr. Augustin, who was 23 then, purchased these vehicles by misrepresenting his creditworthiness and the creditworthiness of several “straw” purchasers. After securing insurance on these luxury vehicles, Mr. Augustin deliberately staged motor vehicle collisions to cause the insurance carrier to declare a total loss and report the collision to the police and insurance company as accidental. See Agency Checklists’ article of July 14, 2020, “Holbrook Man Indicted For $200k Luxury Car Insurance Fraud Scheme
According to the AG’s Office, Augustin managed to obtain $136,940 in financing through these credit misrepresentations. Moreover, he was able to collect more than $208,700 from his luxury vehicles’ insurers in fraudulent claims.
Statewide grand jury hears evidence and indicts
After following up on the IFB’s referral and investigating Mr. Augustin’s activities, the Attorney General’s Office presented its evidence to a statewide grand jury.
On July 10, 2020, this grand jury indicted Mr. Augustin on seven counts of larceny over $250 by false pretenses and eight counts of motor vehicle insurance fraud.
Remanded to jail at arraignment on $1 million bail
At his July 22 arraignment, Mr. Augustin pleaded not guilty but was remanded into custody as the Superior Court Judge arraigning Mr. Augustin initially set bail at $1 million with surety or $100 thousand in cash.
After three months of pretrial detention, a different judge reduced Mr. Augustin’s bail to $250 thousand with surety or $25 thousand in cash. On November 19, 2020, the court released Mr. Augustin on bail with a curfew and GPS monitoring.
Guilty pleas result in two and one-half years in county jail
In March 2023, Mr. Augustin pleaded guilty to all the charges against him in the Norfolk Superior Court. Superior Court. Judge Douglas Wilkins subsequently sentenced Mr. Augustin to two and a half years in the Norfolk House of Correction, followed by two years of probation.
No ownership of vehicles while on probation
The court laid down stringent conditions for Mr. Augustin’s probation period. During his probationary period, he is prohibited from contacting witnesses related to the case and is barred from purchasing or selling automobiles, either in his name or anyone else’s name. Also, the court will determine the restitution amount Mr. Augustin will pay to the defrauded insurers at a subsequent hearing.
Losses totaling $337,000 to lenders and insurers
Mr. Augustin’s scheme led to a loss of over $136,000 from lenders and caused insurance losses of more than $201,000. Furthermore, according to the Attorney General, Mr. Augustin’s criminal activities wasted public resources as his scheme used the public ways of the Commonwealth to stage these collisions. To support his false claims, Mr. Augustin wasted police resources from Boston, Milton, Avon, Waltham, the State Police, and Emergency Medical Services.
Attorney General emphasizes insurance fraud is not a victimless crime
In announcing Mr. Augustin’s sentence, Attorney General Campbell emphasized the severity of insurance fraud crimes like the one perpetrated by Mr. Augustin. Such acts are not victimless crimes. They lead to increased premiums for honest policyholders and misuse of public resources, causing a widespread societal impact.
The Attorney General’s prosecution team
Mr. Augustin’s case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Brad Tully, Naiara Souto, and Eric Haskell, Senior Investigator Lashauna Craig and Division Chief Geoffrey Wood of the AG’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division, Analyst Justin Hunt and Lab Director Chris Kelly of the AG’s Digital Evidence Laboratory, and Victim Witness Advocate Lia Panetta. The AG’s Office began its investigation after a referral from the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts. Insurance Fraud Bureau investigators and Massachusetts State Police provided invaluable assistance to the investigation.