Arrests for October 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
GUILTY AS CHARGED
Brian Lorenc, a former MetLife insurance agent, pled guilty on October 27, 2000 to grand larceny in the 3rd degree and scheme to defraud in the 1st degree. After receiving a complaint from MetLife, the Frauds Bureau initiated an investigation that revealed that between 1993 and 1999, Lorenc defrauded eight MetLife policyholders of nearly $93,000. In some cases, Lorenc contacted the policyholders and persuaded them to take a loan on their existing policy, to use built-up dividends, or to cash in the policy for the surrender value, with the monies to be used to purchase other policies. Of course, new policies were never purchased and Lorenc pocketed the money. In other instances, Lorenc initiated the loan or surrender without the knowledge or consent of the policyholders. When these policyholders received the checks from MetLife and questioned Lorenc about them, he informed the policyholders that there had been an error and that he would return the checks to MetLife. Again, he pocketed the money. MetLife has repaid all of the victims in this scheme. Lorenc has paid approximately $25,000 in restitution thus far and will repay the remaining amount before his February 2, 2001 sentencing date.
HIS HOME IS NOT A CASTLE
On October 20, 2000, Emy David Okagbue-Ojekwe, who had claimed to be a Nigerian prince, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison. Earlier this year, Okagbue-Ojekwe was convicted of five counts of mail fraud in a scheme to defraud a number of insurers of $4.7 million in death benefit claims. Okagbue-Ojekwe reported that his twin brother, Harris E. Davis, had died in an auto accident in Nigeria in 1999. However, evidence uncovered during an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office showed that the twin brother never existed and that Harris E. Davis was in reality one of Okagbue-Ojekwes 30 aliases.
THIS TEACHER LEARNS A LESSON
Long Island Teacher Arrested on 10/27/00.
Charged with insurance fraud in the 4th degree.
A special education teacher, with a history of withdrawing allegedly fraudulent claims when an insurer initiated an investigation, is charged with defrauding an insurer of $1,895. She submitted a claim alleging that a diamond necklace valued at $1,895 had been stolen on 8/15/98. The insurer honored the claim and paid her for the loss. However, an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office revealed that the defendant had previously submitted a claim to a different insurer alleging that the same necklace had been stolen on 3/23/97. She was reimbursed $1,145 for the earlier claim.
A DEFRAUDING DUO
Doctors Technician Arrested on 10/23/00.
Charged with forgery in the 2nd degree, insurance fraud in the 3rd degree and falsifying business records in the 1st degree.
While employed as a technician in a doctors office, this defendant submitted more than $35,000 in fraudulent claims to Empire Blue Cross & Blue Shield for treatments she maintained had been performed by her employer and subsequently paid for by her. Her insurer paid out close to $30,000 on the claims which were submitted between 1990 and 1999. Her companion in the scam was arrested in June 2000 on similar charges. The companion, a bookkeeper in the same doctors office, submitted over $48,000 in bogus claims to Empire and received more than $40,000 in fraudulent payments. Both arrests resulted from an investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau and the Manhattan District Attorneys Office. The two defendants will make full restitution to Empire Blue Cross & Blue Shield as part of the settlement of their cases.
FRAUD SWEEP POSTSCRIPT
Upstate Resident Arrested on 10/19/00.
Charged with violation of Section 114-1 of the New York State Workers Compensation Law.
The defendant is charged with fraudulently collecting $34,000 in workers compensation benefits to which he was not entitled. A sweep in Onondaga County on 9/19-20/00 culminated in the arrests of 20 individuals on charges of workers compensation fraud. The arrest of this defendant, together with a number of other suspects arrested in the intervening weeks, brings to 31 the total number of arrests resulting from this sweep. The investigation was a joint effort by the Frauds Bureau, the State Insurance Fund, the Workers Compensation Fraud Inspector General and the Onondaga County District Attorneys Office.
WHOS THE VICTIM HERE?
New York City Man Arrested on 10/19/00.
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree, attempted grand larceny, forgery in the 2nd degree and criminal impersonation.
Following an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the New York City Police Departments Special Frauds Unit, the defendant was arrested for allegedly taking part in a no-fault insurance fraud scheme. The scheme involved theft of the identity of real accident victims for the purpose of fraudulently collecting medical benefits.
WHOS GOING TO STEAL A BURNED-OUT CAR?
Staten Island Man Arrested on 10/19/00.
Charged with violation of Section 240.50 of the New York State Penal Law.
The suspect in this case reported his car stolen on 7/25/00. The problem is that the same auto was observed on fire by a New York City Fire Marshall on 7/19/00, nearly a week before the alleged theft. The Frauds Bureau, with the assistance of the City Fire Marshall, conducted the investigation that led to the arrest.
A CLEAN SWEEP NABS 13
Arrested on 10/18-19/00.
Charged in various insurance workers compensation fraud schemes.
A joint investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau, the Queens District Attorneys Office, the New York City Police Department and the State Insurance Fund led to the arrests of 13 defendants on charges of bilking the workerscompensation system of over $130,000. These suspects collected workerscompensation benefits one as much as $42,000 by falsely claiming they were unable to work because of injuries suffered on the job. However, they allegedly were all gainfully employed at various jobs, including some in which strenuous tasks were required. Assisting in the investigation were the Workers Compensation Inspector Generals Office and the various insurers victimized by the scheme. Three more arrests are expected in this case.
BUSINESS OWNER FAULTED FOR NO-FAULT FRAUD
Businessman Arrested on 10/18/00.
Charged with mail fraud.
Following an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the FBI, the owner of a livery car service was arrested and charged with operating a ring that staged accidents, referred the "victims" to various medical facilities for bogus medical treatments and filed fraudulent no-fault insurance claims.
CAR STRIPPED, THEN REPORTED STOLEN
Queens Resident Arrested on 10/18/00.
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree, grand larceny in the 3rd degree, false written statement and falsely reporting an incident.
On 2/4/00, this suspect reported to the New York City Police Department that his auto had been stolen. He then allegedly filed a fraudulent insurance claim for the theft. However, the NYPD had recovered the car, which had been stripped, prior to the date of the alleged theft. The arrest resulted from an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the NYPD Auto Crime Division.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
Bronx Man Arrested on 10/17/00.
Charged with insurance fraud in the 2nd degree and attempted grand larceny in the 2nd degree.
The defendant in this case allegedly submitted a fraudulent claim for $225,000 to a life insurance company. The claim stated that the defendants father had died on 1/23/97 in the Dominican Republic. An investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau and the Bronx District Attorneys Office revealed that both the police report and the death certificate were bogus. The investigators further learned that the defendants father is alive and well and was naturalized as a citizen of the U.S. on 5/19/99.