Arrests for July 2002
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
- Darrin Chiappone of Lockport, NY, pled guilty to disorderly conduct on 7/31/02 and was sentenced to a conditional discharge. In November 2001 he had presented a copy of a State Insurance Fund Certificate of Insurance to a contractor as proof that his company had workers compensation coverage. However, an investigation by the Frauds Bureau revealed that the Certificate had originally been issued to a company other than Chiappones. The company name and the dates of coverage had been changed. Chiappone was arrested on 7/23/02 on a charge of possession of a forged instrument.
- On two separate occasions, Betty Wetmore of Clyde, NY, reported that she was not working and had not sought work during the previous 52 weeks in order to continue receiving workers compensation benefits. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau revealed that she was employed during the periods in question. Wetmore was sentenced on 710/02 to pay restitution of $722 plus a state court surcharge of $125, after pleading guilty to petit larceny on 6/27/02.
- WORLD TRADE CENTER FRAUD
Since the tragic events of September 11, the Frauds Bureau has been fast-tracking World Trade Center claims to ensure that they receive prompt attention. A number of arrests have been made in WTC-related cases. The Bureau is investigating additional complaints involving possible fraud in connection with the attack of 9/11 and more arrests are anticipated.
- NASTY NINE
Arrested on 7/25/01
Charged with insurance fraud, grand larceny, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, criminal possession of a forged instrument and fraudulent practices in violation of the Workers Compensation Law
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau, the State Insurance Fund and the Nassau County District Attorneys Office led to the arrest of nine Nassau County residents charged with participating in various insurance scams. Five of the defendants were accused of obtaining more than $35,000 in undeserved workers compensation benefits. Two others were charged with filing fraudulent Certificates of Insurance in order to obtain work for their businesses while avoiding payment of workers compensation insurance premiums. In another case, a Levittown woman filed a fraudulent claim with State Farm Fire & Casualty Company stating she had lost her diamond ring, valued at $5,000-$7,000, at the beach. The investigation turned up evidence that she had submitted an identical claim three years earlier to a different insurance company. In the final arrest of the sweep, a Uniondale man was accused of filing false claims with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company for more than $4,400 for electronic equipment allegedly damaged when his car was rear-ended. In addition, he submitted receipts for $780 in expenses he allegedly incurred getting to and from work while his car was being repaired.
- MISTER AND MISSUS
Arrested on 7/25/02
Charged with committing a fraudulent practice under the Workers Compensation Law and falsifying business records
The husband in this case submitted sworn statements to The Hartford Insurance Company on three different occasions to support his claim for lost wages. The statements indicated that he had not worked since his compensation benefits began. However, he was found to be actively employed as a handyman, making repairs on rental properties. Further investigation also found that the false statements, submitted as proof of his inability to work, were completed by his wife who claimed he was unable even to write. The arrests were the result of an investigation by the Frauds Bureau following a report of suspected insurance fraud from The Hartfords Special Investigations Unit.
- MEDICAID PAID
Arrested on 7/25/02
Charged with insurance fraud in the 4th degree and grand larceny in the 4th degree
This defendant was accused of submitting fraudulent claims to CNA Insurance Company for reimbursement of payments for prescription medication in connection with her workers compensation claim. However, an investigation by the Frauds Bureau found that she had paid for the prescriptions with her Medicaid card and was, therefore, not entitled to reimbursement.
- FALSE CLAIM
Arrested on 7/23/02
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree, grand larceny in the 3rd degree, falsely reporting an incident in the 3rd degree and making a punishable false written statement
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the NYPD Auto Crime Division led to the arrest of a Staten Island man suspected of falsely reporting to the Police Department that his 1993 Lexus was stolen from a shopping mall parking lot on 7/1/02. He then filed a claim with Allstate Insurance Company in an effort to collect more than $3,000 for the "theft."
- CROSSING THE HUDSON
Arrested on 7/23/02
Charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the 3rd degree
The charges in this case allege that an upstate man was in possession of a stolen 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII with full knowledge that the car was stolen. Apparently, the car was reported stolen in New Jersey and prior to its recovery, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company paid the owner more than $13,000. During an investigation by the Frauds Bureau, the Delaware County Sheriffs Office and the New Jersey Office of the Insurance Frauds Prosecutor, evidence was uncovered that indicated the defendant conspired with others in this fraud scheme that began in New Jersey and proceeded to New York. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are anticipated.
- BOGUS ACCIDENT REPORTS
Arrested on 7/18/02
Charged with grand larceny in the 3rd degree, insurance fraud in the 3rd degree, falsifying business records in the 1st degree and conspiracy in the 5th degree
The Frauds Bureau combined efforts with the NYPD Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad in an investigation that resulted in the arrest of two New York City women. One defendant, a Manhattan resident, was accused of generating a false police accident report and submitting it to a medical clinic for the purpose of collecting benefits under her no-fault coverage. The second defendant, living in Brooklyn, allegedly filed a phony police accident report and also submitted it to a medical facility in an effort to collect no-fault benefits.
- WHOS WAITING TABLES?
Arrested on 7/12/02
Charged with offering a false instrument for filing in the 1st degree
A self-employed restaurant owner was charged with filing compensation waivers with the Rockland County Department of Health and the New York State Workers Compensation Board stating he had no employees on his payroll. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Workers Compensation Inspector Generals Office revealed that he employed several workers and therefore was required to carry worker compensation insurance.
- HOUSE WARMING
Arrested on 7/11/02
Charged with arson in the 3rd degree and insurance fraud in the 3rd degree
An indictment accused an upstate machinist of intentionally setting fire to his home. Following the fire, he filed a fraudulent claim with New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company under his homeowners policy. The investigation was conducted jointly by the Frauds Bureau, the Tioga County District Attorneys Office, the New York State Police, the Tioga County Fire Investigation Team and the New York Centrals Special Investigations Unit.
- BOGUS ACCIDENT REPORTS II
Arrested on 7/10/02
Charged with falsifying business records, conspiracy in the 5th degree and insurance fraud in the 5th degree
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the NYPD Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad led to the arrest of a Queens woman for allegedly altering a police accident report and submitting it to her insurer in an effort to collect no-fault benefits.
- TRASHY TRIO
Arrested on 7/8/02
Charged with arson in the 3rd degree, insurance fraud in the 3rd degree, attempted grand larceny and criminal solicitation
Charges were brought against three men accused of participating in an auto insurance fraud scheme. One of the suspects allegedly hired a man to have his car torched so that he could collect the proceeds of his auto insurance policy. Evidence indicated that the man drove the car to a location in Buffalo and, with the help of his uncle, set it on fire. The car owner then filed a claim for $15,592 with State Farm Insurance Company for the loss of the car. However, two witnesses saw the uncles car leaving the scene and gave the license plate number to Buffalo Fire Investigators. An investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau, the Buffalo Police Department and State Farms SIU led to the arrest of all three suspects.
- ASSETS ATTACHED
Arrested on 7/1/02
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree
In what is believed to be the largest ongoing investigation of insurance fraud in the State, the president; the vice president and co-owner; and the general manager of a Suffolk County auto body shop were arrested for enhancing damages in order to jack up insurance claims. For the first time, investigators seized the assets of the body shop owners, including $117,000 in cash, $140,000 in various bank accounts and more than $1 million in commercial real estate. There have been more than 230 indictments in this investigation thus far and 283 arrests have been made. Frauds Bureau investigators have been assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office and they have been working closely with the DAs staff and members of the National Insurance Crime Bureau in this investigation. The District Attorneys Office plans to use the Enterprise Corruption statute in the States Organized Crime Control Act to add more charges in this latest round of arrests.
Lisa Melski pled guilty on 6/28/02 in Erie County Court to two counts of insurance fraud in the 3rd degree. Melski was arrested twice within two weeks back in February 2002. After her car had been destroyed by fire on 3/4/00, she filed a claim with Allstate Insurance Company stating she had purchased the car in November 1999 from a private owner for $16,000. She further stated that at the time of purchase, the car had been driven a total of 24,000 miles. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the State Police revealed that she bought the car from a dealer for $5,400 and the actual mileage was 122,315. Had Allstate been aware of these facts, the defendant would have been reimbursed $5,977, rather than the $18,000 she was paid on her claim. The second arrest was the result of a claim Melski filed with New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company stating that on 3/2/01, while in the process of moving, a gas grill valued at $1,350 and tools with an estimated worth of $2,740 were located in a car owned by her friend when the friends car was stolen. In support of her claim, Melski submitted a fraudulent sales receipt for the grill. Investigators determined she never purchased a grill. In addition, the investigation uncovered evidence that the receipt she submitted for the tools was the same receipt submitted by another friend in a 1991 theft claim. The friends name had been deleted and the defendants name written in. The date on the receipt was 1985, which would have made the defendant 14 years old when she bought the tools. The friend, who claimed her car containing the grill and the tools had been stolen, was arrested on 2/25/02 in connection with the fraudulent stolen-car claim. The sentencing date has not yet been set.
- A HUSBAND, THE EX-WIFE AND
Arrested on 6/28/02
Charged with arson in the 3rd degree, burglary in the 2nd degree and criminal contempt in the 1st degree
An unemployed Chenango County man was accused of persuading his girlfriend to burn down the home of his ex-wife. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company subsequently paid out $121,000 for repair of the damages from the fire that occurred on 6/14/01. While he was named on the policy, the defendant did not claim any of the insurance proceeds. His girlfriend was arrested by the State Police in November 2001 after admitting she had set the fire. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau uncovered evidence that the defendant had burglarized the residence about six months before the fire. Furthermore, corroborative evidence was obtained that linked him to the planning and facilitation of the arson. In addition, the house fire was one of numerous violations of a Court-issued Order of Protection ordering him to stay away from his ex-wife and her home.
- BOGUS ACCIDENT REPORTS III
Arrested on 6/28/02
Charged with conspiracy in the 5th degree, attempted grand larceny in the 3rd degree, falsifying business records in the 1st and 2nd degrees and insurance fraud in the 3rd, 4th and 5th degrees
The Frauds Bureau and the NYPD pooled resources in an investigation that led to the arrest of a Brooklyn man for allegedly submitting a fraudulent police accident report to Metropolitan Insurance Company in an effort to fraudulently collect benefits under his no-fault insurance coverage.
- CONTINUED SUCCESS
Arrested on 6/27/02
Charged with conspiracy and insurance fraud
An unemployed Queens man became the latest defendant in an investigation into one of the largest no-fault fraud rings ever to operate in the New York area. A sweep in August 2001 led to the indictment of 67 persons for their involvement in this massive fraud ring. This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Frauds Bureau, the U.S. Attorneys Office, the FBI, the NYPD Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad and the New York City Department of Investigations.
- NO-FAULT FRAUD
Arrested on 6/27/02
Charged with conspiracy in the 5th degree, attempted grand larceny in the 3rd degree, falsifying business records in the 1st and 2nd degrees and insurance fraud in the 3rd and 5th degrees
The charges in this case alleged that the defendant, with four others not apprehended at the time, submitted a fraudulent police accident report to North American Insurance Company in order to collect benefits under the no-fault portion of his auto insurance policy. His arrest was the result of an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the NYPD.
- MORE NO-FAULT FRAUD
Arrested on 6/19/02
Charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy and attempted grand larceny
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the NYPD Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad led to the arrest of this suspect on charges that he submitted a fraudulent police accident report to a medical facility in order to collect undeserved no-fault benefits. At the same time, 23 other persons connected to this case were also arrested and charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy and attempted grand larceny.
- FORGED ACCIDENT REPORT
Arrested on 5/31/02
Charged with insurance fraud
This suspect was arrested for allegedly forging a police accident report in an effort to collect benefits under her no-fault insurance coverage. The Frauds Bureau and the NYPD joined forces in the investigation.
- FRAUDULENT ACCIDENT REPORT
Arrested on 5/29/02
Charged with insurance fraud and falsifying business records
The defendant in this case was charged with submitting a fraudulent police accident report to a medical facility in order to receive medical benefits for nonexistent injuries. Her arrest followed an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the NYPD Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad.
- $16,000 THEFT
Arrested on 5/28/02
Charged with insurance fraud
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the NYPD brought about the arrest of a Bronx woman charged with staging an accident and fraudulently collecting more than $16,000 in medical benefits.