Five men, including a lawyer, were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on charges that they staged a car accident last year to defraud two insurance companies of $118,000.
Federal authorities said they still are investigating the suspects and others involved in the alleged scheme.
During their 15-month investigation, U.S. postal inspectors and FBI agents searched the Silver Spring law office of Frank A. K. Awuah and Associates and an apartment in the 7300 block of Oakland Mills Road in Columbia, according to court papers.
Andrew Nunoo-Quarcoo, 37, a lawyer in Mr. Awuah's firm, was indicted on federal wire fraud and mail fraud charges. He was arrested earlier this month and released on his own recognizance. An arraignment is scheduled next Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
Others charged with violating federal fraud laws were identified as Nii Adumoa-Bossman, Ken Degourville, Edward Ayaade Adedeji and Maurice Clottey. Their ages and addresses were not available.
Some told authorities or insurance investigators that they either lived at the Oakland Mills Road apartment or at an address in the 9300 block of Snowden River Parkway, in Columbia. Court papers say that the address is a private mail box at a business park rented by one of the suspects.
Mr. Nunoo-Quarcoo could not be reached for comment. Mr. Awuah declined to comment yesterday, saying he has not seen the indictments.
Federal investigators started their inquiry in April 1993 after being contacted by M. David Spear, an independent investigator hired by a Pennsylvania insurance company to investigate the accident.
According to court documents, the accident occurred April 12, 1993, at 11:30 p.m. in Beltsville. A 1986 Toyota Corolla, owned by a Columbia woman but driven by Mr. Bossman, hit a 1992 GMC truck driven by a man who has not been charged in the case.
Prosecutors say Mr. Nunoo-Quarcoo represented the other four defendants in their medical claims against the company that leased the GMC truck and Geico, which insured the Toyota.
The court papers charge that Mr. Spear determined the accident was staged and confronted the lawyer, who admitted, "so, this is a fraud," and then asked him "how much money it would take" for him to forget about the claim. Prosecutors say that the lawyer offered Mr. Spear $2,000 and a percentage of his attorney fees to make the case disappear.