ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando man is accused of using homeless people to make money by convincing them to get into fake car crashes so he could file an insurance claim.
Officials said he would hit the homeless people with his car.
The case is still ongoing, but investigators said Clifton Johnson hit at least one homeless person, and allowed a homeless person to hit him.
Even though no one was hurt, authorities said Johnson and the homeless man involved both filed insurance claims.
Investigators said Johnson went to a known homeless area and recruited Vincent Suhr.
Investigators said Surh agreed to stage a crash close to Florida Hospital in Winter Park.
The homeless man said he drove slowly toward Johnson, and Johnson placed his hand on the hood, rolled across the hood and landed on the ground.
He allegedly knew Johnson was just pretending to be hurt.
After they allegedly cashed in on the false insurance claim, investigators said the two staged another fake crash months later, where Johnson struck Surh.
Brent Trotter heads the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.
He said homeless people are vulnerable to these types of schemes.
“I think people who are in financial need live often times with a sense of desperation,” Trotter said.
WFTV reported about a scheme last year where homeless people were paid $50 to sign up for a cellphone plan under a fake address to get a phone.
In that case, investigators said the people behind the scheme would sell the phones on the black market, and no one would pay the bills.
Investigators said more arrests could be coming in the case of the fake car crashes.