Lufkin Sports Car Owner Sued for Insurance Fraud
Remember that Lufkin man who drove his million dollar high performance Bugatti sports car into a lagoon off Galveston Bay two years ago, and claimed it was an accident?
He filed an insurance claim for more than two million dollars, but the insurance company isn’t buying his story. The company has sued him for insurance fraud.
The lawsuit was filed in Galveston federal court, and it accuses Lufkin auto salvage dealer Gary House and Nacogdoches businessman Lloyd Gillespie of scheming for a $2.2 million payout on a waterlogged Bugatti Veyron — one of the rarest and fastest cars in the world.
The lawsuit alleges that in 2009, Gillespie gave House, owner of Lufkin-based Performance Auto, a $1,050,000 interest-free loan to buy the vehicle for $1.25 million.
On October 1 of that year, Philadelphia Indemnity insured the vehicle as a display vehicle for $2.2 million, twice its retail value. The policy named House and Gillespie as loss payees in the event of an accident.
A month later on November 12, 2009, House drove off the I-45 feeder road into a saltwater marsh near Galveston. He claimed he dropped his cell-phone and had just retrieved when he was distracted by a low-flying pelican, and he couldn’t see where he was going.
According to the lawsuit, in the insurance company’s investigation of House’s claim, a confidential informant came forward saying it was a plot to collect the insurance money.
The suit the informant claimed House first offered to pay him to steal the car and burn it, but after House destroyed the car on his own, the informant confronted him. He claims House offered to pay him part of the insurance money to keep quiet.
The suit also says the informant believes House offered the hush-money with Gillespie’s blessing.
There has been no comment from House or Gillespie, but House has filed a counter lawsuit against the insurance company for non-payment of his claim.
This story made news around the world because the Bugatti’s plunge into the lagoon was captured on video by a passing motorist. That video went viral on the Internet and was even shown on “The Jay Leno Show”.
The video is also part of the insurance company’s lawsuit, which says the video doesn’t support House’s claim of that the incident was an “accident”.
It will be introduced as evidence when the case comes to trial in Galveston sometime next year.
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