Oscar Vasquez wasn't at a Christmas Eve automobile accident in West Hills that caused minor injuries, but he filed a medical insurance claim anyway.
The claim brought him months of medical treatment. But on Wednesday it cost him two years in state prison.
Vasquez, 25, a Guatemalan immigrant who lives in Los Angeles, was convicted last month of insurance fraud for filing the bogus claim with the Allstate Insurance Companies.
He was found guilty along with co-defendant Eliseo Molina Ramires, 19, who was driving the truck that caused the accident.
Ramires staged the accident, prosecutors said, and Vasquez tried to take advantage of it by filing a phony claim.
Vasquez's involvement in the fake accident was discovered by investigators from Allstate Insurance, who came to believe that the crash--at Topanga Canyon Boulevard near Roscoe Boulevard--was a fraud, prosecutors said. When they interviewed Vasquez, they discovered that although he had filed a claim and was receiving medical treatment, he had not been at the scene, authorities said.
He received treatment after claiming that he was suffering from pain in his neck and back.
What tripped Vasquez up was his contention in his claim that no ambulance had come to the scene. But an ambulance was there, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Mitchel J. Harris.
In addition, three people, including a police officer, testified at the trial that Vasquez was not there.
The crash did occur--but Ramires was convicted earlier this week of staging it by slamming on his brakes when a car driven by an accomplice cut him off. The case was cracked when a woman testified that she had seen the same two cars engage in similar maneuvers half an hour earlier.