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Former animal control officer pleads guilty to role in alleged fraudulent insurance claim scheme

US Attorney’s Office: Scheme involved two others, including former Castroville police chief

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SAN ANTONIO – A former animal control officer admitted his role in a fraudulent insurance claim scheme involving a former police chief and another person, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas.

Prosecutors said former Castroville Animal Control Officer Ambrose Rymers pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy.

By pleading guilty, Rymers admitted to assisting former Castroville police chief Chris Filline and another person in a fraudulent scheme to collect insurance proceeds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said a one-count federal grand jury indictment, which was unsealed Monday after Filline's arrest, alleges that between June 2016 and December 2016, Filline schemed to defraud Farmers Insurance Group regarding his 2007 Lincoln Navigator.

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Filline conspired with Rymers and another person to destroy the vehicle in order to collect insurance proceeds, according to court records. Prosecutors said Rymers admitted to following the third individual involved, who was allegedly driving Filline's SUV, to a location in Bexar County on July 15, 2016.

The third individual doused the SUV with an accelerant and lit it on fire, according to the indictment, which further alleged that on July 18, 2016, Filline went to the Lytle Police Department and reported that his SUV had been stolen.

Filline electronically submitted an insurance claim to Farmers Insurance Group three days later. Prosecutors said the filing resulted in the processing and payment of a fraudulent claim for $14,388.25 to Filline.

The indictment charges Filline and the third individual with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, prosecutors said.

Rymers faces up to five years in federal prison. Prosecutors said Rymers is scheduled for sentencing on April 29.

Upon conviction, Filline and the third individual face up to 20 years in federal prison. Prosecutors said Filline is on bond pending trial scheduled for March 30.

The third individual is currently not in custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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