A Texas court may soon decide if the man who drove his Bugatti Veyron into a lake was committing fraud after his insurance company claimed he crashed the car on purpose to collect $2.2 million in insurance money. Wait, it wasn't a low-flying pelican? You don't say.
Andy House was driving along a highway in Galveston, Texas on November 12, 2009 when, for some reason, he drove his car into some water, destroying the million-dollar exotic car. At the time the man claimed to reporters, and to us, that this was because of the reflection of a low-flying pelican he saw after dropping his cellphone.
"I had dropped my phone, people dont know what happened," House told us adding "What it appeared to been was a reflection."
Unbeknownst to House, the accident was filmed by passerby Joe Garza. The video didn't seem to show a low-flying pelican.
"it's unusual that you have video of a car crash" said Attorney David Miller, who is representing the insurance company. "It's wonderful that a jury will be able to actually look at the sequence of events"
Since the accident House occasionally reached out to us regarding various exotic-related business, including his apparent purchase of a replacement Veyron and a critique of a Bugatti fender-bender in Chicago (he called the guys who did it a "BUNCH OF DOUCHE BAGS!").
He also sent us this picture of various exotics, some of which show dealer plates (that'll be important later on).
While this all was going on the company that insured the Veyron, Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company, was investigating whether it should pay the claim on the car, which they admitted in a court filing they'd insured for a ridiculous $2.2 million.
Why is it ridiculous? According to their own research, a man named Lloyd Gillespie loaned House $1,050,000 interest-free for the car. That's roughly half the value.
Oh, but the fun doesn't end there. Philadelphia also makes a case that the car was destroyed on purpose to collect the insurance money. They say there was no evidence of a low-flying pelican, that House let the car run for 15 minutes while submerged (his excuse was he was "being bitten by mosquitos" ), and that there was no sign he attempted to brake or skid to avoid anything.
Most dramatically, they claim a "confidential informant" came forward to report House had tried to get someone to destroy the vehicle.
SThe confidential informant stated that Mr. House offered to pay him money to steal the car and burn it making the disappearance of the vehicle appear to be a theft so that Mr. House could obtain the insurance money. However, apparently Mr. House instead drove the car into the lagoon without the confidential informant's assistance.
Once the confidential informant confronted Mr. House, Mr. House offered to pay the confidential informant a portion of the insurance proceeds once recovered to remain silent during the investigation. The confidential informant indicated that he believed Mr. House and Mr. Gillespie acted in coordination in this matter. It is Philadelphia's position based on its investigation that Mr. House and Mr. Gillespie acted together to defraud Philadelphia of $2,200,000.
Additionally, Philadelphia insured the vehicle as a collector's item used for display and makes a case that the vehicle was actually used for personal errands such as going to biker rallies, impressing friends, and otherwise commuting around Texas and thus they shouldn't have to pay on those grounds.
As proof they have the vehicle's mileage (2,100 since insuring it) and the fact that it was rolling around with dealer plates.
The insurance company's lawyers are seeking to have the claim rejected and seek any relief they may be justified to.
Both the insurance company and the defendants filed a motion for a summary judgment in federal court and both were denied, according to Miller, because there was an issue of "fact." The case will now likely go to a jury to decide, probably some time in the next year, in order to determine the facts of the case.
We've reached out to House for a comment.