Arrests for July 2000
These arrests were made possible through the cooperation of the Frauds Bureau, law enforcement, the insurance industry and the public.
To report suspected incidents of insurance fraud, call 1-888-FRAUDNY
PHONY COSMETIC SURGEON CONVICTED OF INSURANCE FRAUD
Sonia Lafontaine, who performed dozens of procedures without any medical training, was convicted of 17 counts of insurance fraud on 7/13/00. In a clinic she operated in Manhattan with her husband, Lafontaine used crude equipment to perform cosmetic surgeries, according to several of her patients who testified at her trial. In January 1998, one of her patients died during liposuction. The anesthesiologist used for this procedure had had her license suspended because of an addiction to morphine. Lafontaine defrauded insurers into paying for cosmetic procedures that werent covered by falsely billing for procedures that were covered. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Manhattan U.S. Attorneys Office led to Lafontaines arrest in March 1998. At that time, the clinic was shut down and the New York State Health Department pulled the licenses of four doctors who were also involved in the scam. These doctors received kickbacks for signing phony medical bills. Lafontaine has been in prison for months for allegedly trying to bribe a witness in the case. She faces up to 10 years in prison when she comes up for sentencing later this year. Her husband fled to Canada and is now a fugitive.
BUFFALO CITY WORKER CHARGED WITH INSURANCE FRAUD
Upstate Man Arrested on 7/26/00.
Charged with insurance fraud in the 4th degree and attempted grand larceny in the 4th degree
This defendant filed a claim with the City of Buffalo for $1,500 in damages to his car which he alleged was caused by a collision with a specific city-owned truck driven by a specific driver. When the City, a self-insurer, sent an adjuster to inspect the car, the defendant claimed the car had been stolen. In the meantime, he filed a theft claim with his auto insurer, reporting that his car had been in perfect condition when it was stolen, had low mileage, and was free of any insurance claims within the prior three years. An investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau and the New York State Police revealed that the accident report the defendant submitted to the City of Buffalo contained false information about the cause of the damages to his car and that he had forged the signature of the person he reported as the driver of the truck. In addition, the claim submitted to his auto insurer contained materially false information as to the condition of the car at the time of the theft. The car has not yet been recovered.
CAR DISPOSED OF, THEN REPORTED STOLEN
Long Island Man Arrested on 7/26/00.
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree.
The defendant reported his car stolen on April 18, 2000. However, an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Suffolk County Police Department revealed that he had the car disposed of on April 10, 2000 and attempted to collect $6,500 from his insurer.
INSURANCE UNDERWRITER CHARGED IN FRAUD SCHEME
Brooklyn Resident Arrested on 7/25/00.
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree, grand larceny in the 3rd degree, scheme to defraud, offering a false instrument for filing and false report of an incident
An investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau, the New York City Police Department and Travelers Insurance Company led to the arrest of a former senior underwriter at Chubb Insurance Company for allegedly defrauding the Company of $45,000. The charges allege that she submitted a fraudulent claim in connection with a burglary on November 9, 1998 at her former residence. She received a settlement of $45,000 from Chubb for that claim. However, the defendant submitted a separate claim to Travelers Insurance Company alleging a second burglary on March 29, 1999 in which she reported the same items were stolen. This investigation is continuing and an additional arrest is pending. The defendants employment at Chubb has been terminated.
INVESTIGATION NETS FEDERAL WORKER
Queens Woman Arrested on 7/18/00
Charged with falsifying business records, insurance fraud in the 5th degree, false written statement and attempted petit larceny
An employee of the Social Security Administration is charged with altering documents submitted to her homeowners insurer. The defendant filed a claim on January 28, 2000 for a carpet which she reported was damaged by a leaking radiator, together with a receipt in the amount of $1,635 for the purchase of the carpet. However, the defendant had submitted a claim to another insurer on August 22, 1997, claiming damage to the same carpet. The earlier claim, it appears, included the same receipt but in the correct purchase price of $635. An independent adjuster that had handled both claims discovered the discrepancy. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Queens District Attorneys Office led to the arrest.
BARBER SHAVES THE TRUTH
Brooklyn Barber Arrested on 7/17/99
Charged with insurance fraud in the 4th degree
The subject in this case is charged with fabricating an auto accident report and submitting a fraudulent claim to his insurer for payment of numerous medical bills under the no-fault portion of his insurance coverage.
INVESTIGATION NABS UNLIKELY TRIO
Long Island Residents Arrested on 7/13/00
Charged with offering a false instrument for filing and insurance fraud in the 3rd degree
A dancer, a construction worker, and the owner of an auto body shop, working in concert, allegedly were involved in an auto an accident in front of the auto body shop. The construction worker was supposedly driving a vehicle that went out of control and crashed into two parked cars and a tow truck owned by the body shop. However, since his drivers license had been suspended, the dancer claimed that she was driving when the car went out of control. In reality, the accident was staged and the story was fabricated in order for the owner of the body shop to file claims in the amount of $29,000 for damages. The claims were not paid. The shop owner was arrested on 6/27/00 in connection with the case. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Suffolk County Police Department led to the arrests.
WHATS A TV BETWEEN FRIENDS
Buffalo Woman Arrested on 7/13/00
Charged with insurance fraud in the 4th degree and possession of a forged instrument in the 3rd degree.
The defendant reported to the Buffalo Police that her home had been burglarized and that numerous items were stolen. She filed a claim with her insurer for the loss and included a receipt for a television set valued at $1,948. A Frauds Bureau investigation revealed that the TV was purchased and owned by a friend but the receipt was altered to make it appear that the defendant had made the purchase. The Buffalo Police Department made the arrest based on a Frauds Bureau warrant.
AUTO FRAUDULENTLY REPORTED STOLEN
Queens Resident Arrested on 7/12/00
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree and attempted grand larceny in the 3rd degree
The defendant in this case was involved in an auto accident on 12/7/99, after which his car was towed to a repair storage yard. The defendant had no insurance coverage at the time of the accident. However, he purchased full coverage the next day. Then on 12/13/00, he reported that his car had been stolen but was subsequently recovered and located at the repair storage yard. The defendant allegedly reported to his insurer that the damage to his car that actually resulted from the accident had occurred while the car was in a state of theft. He fraudulently attempted to collect $3,000 from his insurer for both the theft and the damages.
NO DOUBLE DIPPING ALLOWED
Manhattan Woman Arrested on 7/11/00
Charged with insurance fraud and falsifying business records
The defendant was covered under both an individual and a group health insurance policy. However, according to the terms of the individual policy, she was prohibited from coverage under a second plan. When questions by her insurer, the defendant stated that her father has obtained coverage for her under a group policy he had for his employees. Since she did not work for her father, she said, she never used the policy. However, an investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau revealed that from 1996 to 1998, she had submitted claims to both carriers, receiving more than $32,000 to which she was not entitled.