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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
David Paulson, 410-576-6357
dpaulson@oag.state.md.us

AG Gansler Announces Sentencing in Felony Insurance Fraud Case
Damascus man receives supervised probation, must pay restitution

BALTIMORE, MD ( Dec. 22, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that Mohammad "Michael" Elhawa, 42, of Damascus, has been sentenced to five years, all of which was suspended, on a single count of felony insurance fraud. Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Paul H. Weinstein, who presided over Elhawa's guilty plea on October 18, ordered Elhawa to five years of supervised probation and to pay the remaining $38,262 restitution.

"This type of fraud makes it more expensive for honest consumers to insure their vehicles, homes and other possessions," said Attorney General Gansler. "Our skilled team of investigators and attorneys work hard every day on behalf of law-abiding Marylanders to ensure justice is served."
An investigation revealed Elhawa, a former insurance producer, filed an insurance claim and police report with Progressive Insurance Company falsely asserting that his 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe was stolen in January 2008. Progressive, Elhawa's insurer, paid $48,262.00 on the claim.

Further examination by the Maryland Insurance Administration's Insurance Fraud Division revealed Elhawa's Tahoe had been shipped overseas to Tunisia on July 3, 2007, six months prior to the filing of the claim. Elhawa told investigators he loaned the car to a business associate in 2007, who shipped the vehicle overseas without his permission. Elhawa said he lied to Progressive because he was struggling to make payments on a car he could not get back from his business associate.

Elhawa has repaid $10,000.00 of the $48,263.00 owed in restitution.

Attorney General Gansler thanks Assistant Attorney General Benjamin A. Harris, Maryland Insurance Administration Investigator Homer Pennington and the Maryland State Police for their hard work in this case.

   

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