Kennewick man pleads guilty to charges stemming from staged crash

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KENNEWICK, Wash. — A Kennewick man has pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to a staged car accident scene in 2019.  

Ali Abed Yaser, 52, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, making false statements to the FBI, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and two counts of mail fraud.  

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Investigators found that Yaser was among a number of individuals that worked to stage a vehicle crash on County Route 12 in Benton County in May of 2019. This scheme involved a Hyundai Sonata, driven by another individual crashing into Yaser’s Lexus IS. Yaser was not in the vehicle at the time of impact. 

Yaser filed fraudulent insurance claims and an insurance company paid him and others nearly $127,000. 

During an investigation by the FBI, a confidential human source (CHS) was used to record conversations between the individuals involved in the scheme.  

Yaser suspected a different individual to be an FBI informant and made comments to the CHS to be careful of that person. He also made plans to file a false complaint against the FBI case agent and the suspected informant.  In addition, Yaser made comments to the CHS about killing the suspected informant.  

“Yaser and his co-conspirators went to great lengths, not only in committing crimes, but also covering them up and attempting to impugn the integrity of agents 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 from staged accidents.” 

Yaser is scheduled to be sentenced on January 16, 2023 at 1 p.m. in Richland.  

If Yaser receives the maximum sentence, he would face 95 years in prison. The court could also order Yaser to pay a fine of up to $250,000 and face five years of court supervision.  

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