Son, Take the Car and Crash It

Teresa Gallop had 60 prior felony convictions, including manslaughter

By Asha Beh
|  Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009  |  Updated 1:54 PM EDT
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Va. Woman Sentenced for Faking Car Crashes

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OK, so my mom said this is how we're gonna do it...

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A Norfolk woman will spend seven years in prison for staging auto accidents to collect insurance money -- and using her kids to help do it.

No wonder the judge threw the book at her.

In a tearful plea for leniency, Teresa Gallop, 41, argued for no prison time. However, with 60 prior felony convictions -- including manslaughter in the shooting death of the father of two of her sons, she did not make for a sympathetic defendant, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Calling the use of children to stage car crashes "one of the most disturbing acts" he's heard of, U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. went above the recommended guidelines and sentenced Gallop to seven years in federal prison.  

Gallop was convicted earlier this year of staging three car crashes, using children as young as 4 pretending to be victims.

Prosecutors said that, in 2002, Gallop directed her then 16-year-old teenage son and his friend to deliberately collide their vehicles, then she and several minor children -- including her 4-year-old son, her 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old nephew -- would climb into one of the vehicles and pretend to have suffered injuries during the crash.

Prosecutors say she also altered medical bills before submitting them to insurance companies.

Gallop collected about $50,000 in insurance payments. She tried to collect another $11,000, claiming that 450 items were stolen from one of the cars after it was towed from one of the fake crashes.  

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