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Texan pleads guilty in $5M staged accidents scam

DALLAS -- A Texas man has pleaded guilty to fraud in a $5 million staged traffic accident scheme since 2005.

Prosecutors in Dallas said 61-year-old Leroy Nelson of DeSoto pleaded guilty to mail fraud and to engaging in illegal monetary transactions. Nelson faces up to 30 years in prison and could be required to make restitution when he's sentenced in the summer.

Investigators said drivers made false insurance claims in return for cash payments. Nelson, who pleaded guilty Tuesday, would also submit damage claims for elaborate, technical equipment that he made up, such as a "remote aircraft landing marker."

Nelson opened private mailboxes in Arizona, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington, Connecticut and Louisiana to get insurance checks, then had the mail forwarded to him in Texas.

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