A former employee with Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) was sentenced to 78 days in jail for her involvement in an insurance fraud scheme, as well as in a separate $40,000 bribery scheme.
Kendra Coles, 46, of Beltsville, MD, pleaded guilty in March 2019 in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, to one count each of bribery of a public official and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
According to evidence collected by the government, Coles began work for the Metropolitan Police Department in 2006 as a customer service representative. She later became a staff assistant in late 2021, and was assigned to the Patrol Services and School Safety Bureau. In 2015, Coles conspired with two individuals who were “runners” – individuals who were in the business of connecting lawyers and accident victims.
These runners were able to select potential clients by obtaining police reports of recent traffic accidents. Prior to 2015, these reports were publicly available and could be obtained from a clerical office at MPD, but the MPD issued a general order in January 2015 which restricted access to the reports. To get around this, the runners began paying Coles cash in exchange for her providing the traffic crash reports, which she had access to thanks to her role at the MPD.
Court documents said that Coles was paid about $400 to $500 per week for participating in the bribery scheme, while another runner paid her about $350 a week. Over the course of two years, Coles received more than $40,000 from at least two runners.
An MPD audit revealed that between June 01, 2017 and October 06, 2017, alone, Coles had accessed traffic crash reports 3,367 times.
Coles was also charged in a separate insurance fraud scheme. In late June 2017, her car required between $1,000 and $2,400 for parts and an additional $700 for labor. At the time, she had also owed $1,505 to the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles for unpaid parking tickets and fees. To circumvent these costs she conspired with a family friend to have the car “disappear” so she could file an insurance claim.
As part of the insurance scheme, Coles abandoned her car on July 31, 2017, while her co-conspirator set it aflame. Coles collected over $1,000 from her insurer from claims over the vehicle.
According to an official release by the US Attorney’s Office District of Columbia, Coles will serve her 78-day jail sentence on weekends, as well as a three-year probation period. Coles was also required to pay over $6,000 in restitution to an insurance carrier, as well as a $40,0001 forfeiture money judgment.