A Lufkin man on Tuesday admitted to intentionally driving a million-dollar sports car into a saltwater marsh to collect on an insurance policy.
Andy Lee House, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin in a Beaumont courtroom, according to a federal press release.
According to information presented in court, in October 2009 House purchased a 2006 Bugatti Veyron for $1 million and had it insured through Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company for $2.2 million.
On Nov. 11, 2009, House drove the vehicle into the Gulf Bay near La Marque. Upon exiting the Bugatti, he left the motor running, resulting in the engine taking on large amounts of salt water, which destroyed the vehicle, the release stated. House reportedly told first responders he was reaching for his cell phone when he swerved and accidentally drove into the bay. On Nov. 12, 2009, House called the insurance company and filed a $2.2 million claim on the Bugatti. He did not know that another motorist had taken video of the accident, including the moment House drove the vehicle into the water, and then posted the video to YouTube, the release stated.
According to federal court documents, House committed wire fraud by authorizing his insurance company to charge his Mastercard for the insurance premium down payment of $22,000 with the intention of defrauding the company.
Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company filed a federal civil suit against House and Lloyd Gillespie, a Nacogdoches business man who gave House an interest-free loan to purchase the Bugatti, according to federal court documents. Gillespie is not named in the criminal charge.
House faces up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set, the release stated.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lufkin Police Department, the Texas Rangers, the Department of Public Safety-Criminal Investigation Division, and the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Tortorice.
Tortorice and House’s attorney were not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.