Arrests for June 2004
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
- David J. Lanzatella and his wife Suzanne Martin-Lanzatella from Webster, NY, were sentenced on 6/22/04 in Monroe County Court following their guilty plea to insurance fraud in April 2004. Mr. Lanzatella was sentenced to five years probation and Mrs. Lanzatella to three years probation. The husband, a former licensed insurance agent, reported to the Webster Police Department that after returning home from a get-away weekend in January 2003, he and his wife discovered that their home had been broken into and a number of personal belongings stolen. They filed a claim for $35,000 with Allstate Insurance Company for the loss. However, an investigation by the Frauds Bureau, the Webster Police Department and Allstate's Special Investigations Unit revealed that their home had not been burglarized and the claim was fraudulent. The investigation was initiated after the Webster Police became suspicious of a possible staged burglary.
- Yashina Patterson, a Rochester resident, was sentenced on 6/21/04 to three years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $237 to GEICO Insurance Company for legal expenses. Patterson was arrested on 10/23/03 after a joint investigation by the Frauds Bureau, the Monroe County DA's Office, the New York State Police, the Webster Police Department and GEICO's Special Investigations Unit. Patterson reported to the Rochester Police and GEICO on 8/24/03 that while she was on vacation, her 2000 Infinity was stolen from her driveway. However, the investigation uncovered evidence that her car was found on fire on a street in Brooklyn on 8/25/03 and removed by the New York City Sanitation Department on 9/2/03. She subsequently submitted a fraudulent claim for $16,200 to GEICO. Patterson pled guilty on 4/26/04 to attempted grand larceny and admitted that she had arranged to have her vehicle stolen and burned in order to collect the insurance proceeds.
- On 6/7/04, Frank Palermo was sentenced in Monroe County Court to serve two work weekends in the Monroe County Jail and five years probation after entering a guilty plea on 4/19/04. Palermo was arrested on 12/3/02 and charged with insurance fraud and attempted grand larceny for filing an inflated claim in the amount of $9,546 with Safeco Insurance Company following a fire that damaged his garage and its contents. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau, the Monroe County DA's Office Fire Investigation Unit and Safeco's Special Investigations Unit led to his arrest.
- Kirk Castro, a former Long Island insurance broker, was sentenced on 6/7/04 to 16 work weekends in jail, five years probation and restitution of $330,066. His arrest on 11/19/02 followed an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Nassau County DA's Office based on numerous complaints received by both agencies. Castro collected more than $600,000 in premiums from clients and a premium finance company but failed to remit the money to the appropriate insurers (Empire/Allcity, Royal, Allstate, Colonial, CGU and Gulf Insurance Companies). Most of his victims became aware of the fraud only when they received cancellation notices.
- REVOKED LICENSEE
Arrested on 6/30/04
Charged with grand larceny in the 3rd degree
A revoked agent/broker was charged with misappropriating $8,000 in premiums from various clients. In addition, he allegedly took out a $3,100 loan on a client's insurance policy without the knowledge of the client and had the check mailed to his home. The Frauds Bureau worked closely with the Nassau County DA's Office in this investigation.
- HOMEOWNERS FRAUD
Arrested on 6/29/04
Charged with insurance fraud in the 4th degree and falsifying business records in the 1st degree
A Nassau County woman was accused of submitting a fraudulent receipt for repairing a damaged carpet in support of a homeowners claim filed with Preferred Mutual Insurance Company. The Frauds Bureau and the Nassau County DA's Office pooled resources in the investigation that led to her arrest.
- WORKERS' COMP FRAUD
Arrested on 6/24/04
Charged with grand larceny in the 3rd degree and violation of the Workers' Compensation Law
An investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau and the New York State Inspector General's Office led to the arrest of a Buffalo woman charged with working while receiving workers' compensation benefits. The defendant began collecting benefits following a work-related injury she sustained on 10/1/01. However, she returned to work in August 2002 but did not report this fact as required by law. As a result, during the period from 8/2/02 to 6/6/03, she collected more than $10,640 to which she was not entitled.
Arrested on 6/24/04
Charged with grand larceny in the 4th degree and falsifying business records in the 1st degree
An agent employed by an upstate insurance agency was accused of stealing $2,044 in premiums paid by various clients and then altering the agency's records to conceal the theft. Following a complaint by one of the victims in this case, an investigation was conducted by the Frauds Bureau resulting in the arrest of the defendant.
- NO RENTAL
Arrested on 6/20/04
Charged with insurance fraud in the 4th degree and attempted grand larceny in the 3rd degree
Following her arrest on suspicion of insurance fraud, the defendant in this case, while being interviewed by a Frauds Bureau investigator, admitted that she forged a receipt for $1,011 and submitted it with her claim as proof that she rented a car from Enterprise Rental Car Company. Evidence turned up during the investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau led investigators to believe that the claim was fraudulent and that she did not in fact rent a car. These facts were borne out by her subsequent confession.
Arrested on 6/16/04
Charged with grand larceny in the 4th degree
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Niagara Falls Police Department led to the arrest of an unemployed Lockport man. He reported his car stolen on 11/27/03 and on 12/8/03 Progressive Insurance Company issued a check for $2,100 to cover the loss. The defendant contacted Progressive on 12/12/03 to inform them that he had not received the check. Progressive issued a second check and placed a stop payment on the original check. The defendant cashed the second check and then on 12/31/03 attempted to cash the check on which Progressive had placed the stop payment.
- AUTO ARSON 1
Arrested on 6/15/04
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree and attempted grand larceny in the 4th degree
On 5/16/04, a 2001 Dodge Caravan registered to the defendant in this case was found burning in Brooklyn and the fire was determined to have been intentionally set. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the New York City Fire Marshal's Office revealed that the defendant had falsely reported the car stolen after arranging to have it burned.
- AUTO ARSON 2
Arrested on 6/14/04
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree and falsely reporting an incident
The defendant in this case forged the signature of his deceased father on 34 disability checks totaling $9,100. His arrest was the result of an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Bronx DAs Office.
- DRUG MONEY
Arrested on 7/2/03
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3 rd degree, grand larceny in the 3rd degree and falsifying business records in the 1st degree
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the New York City Fire Marshal's Office led to the arrest of a Queens woman accused of arranging to have her 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer burned and then reporting it stolen in an effort to collect the insurance settlement.
- BANK JOB
Arrested on 6/9/04
Charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Suffolk County DA's Office led to the arrest of a licensed broker from Bay Shore, NY, on charges of collecting about $10,000 in premiums from clients but failing to forward the money to any insurance companies. While in custody, this suspect admitted that he had robbed the North Fork Bank in Sayville the day before his arrest on insurance fraud charges. According to police records, he entered the bank at about 5:00 p.m. on June 8 and passed a note to the teller demanding money. Once he had the money in hand, he fled the scene. He was subsequently charged with first degree robbery.
- SINS OF THE FATHER
Arrested on 6/7/04
Charged with forgery in the 2nd degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the 2nd degree and petit larceny
The defendant in this case was accused of forging his son's name to a workers' compensation benefit check in the amount of $680 and cashing it. The Frauds Bureau, the Niagara County DA's Office and the Town of Niagara Police Department pooled resources in the investigation that led to his arrest. Also assisting was the Niagara County Sheriff's Department Forensic Unit which made a positive identification of the suspect's fingerprints on the check.
- NOT DISABLED
Arrested on 6/1/04
Charged with insurance fraud in 1st degree
An upstate truck driver was accused of submitting materially false information on disability claim reports on 4/27/02 and 7/3/03, indicating that he had not returned to work when in fact he had been employed full time since December 2001. He continued to collect disability payments totaling $24,852 while working, using the benefit money to cover two car loans. His arrest was the result of an investigation by the Frauds Bureau.
DON'T DRIVE THE LAWN MOWER
Arrested on 5/27/04
Charged with insurance fraud in the 4th degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the 4th degree
In May 2003, after discovering that her tool shed had been burglarized, a Niagara Falls woman reported the incident to the Niagara Police Department and submitted a claim to her insurer for the lost property. A day or two later, the woman saw her ex-husband driving the lawn mower that was stolen from her shed and gave the information to the Niagara PD. Search warrants were issued and executed at the home of the ex-husband where the lawn mower was discovered. Statements recorded during the couple's divorce proceedings show that the ex-husband denied any knowledge of the existence of the lawn mower. The ex-husband was arrested on May 27, along with a woman who shared his residence. The co-defendant was charged with criminal possession of stolen property.
A FRIEND IN NEED
Arrested on 5/26/04
Charged with grand larceny in the 3rd degree and insurance fraud in the 3rd degree
Following a fire at his home, a self-employed businessman submitted a landlord's statement to Travelers Insurance Company for alternative housing while he was displaced as a result of the fire. However, an investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau revealed that he was actually living at the home of a friend and the document he submitted to Travelers was forged. He collected $6,000 from Travelers but at the time of his arrest he surrendered a check for $4,000 that he had not yet cashed.
TWO SUSPECTS, ONE CAR
Arrested on 5/18/04
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree, falsely reporting an incident in the 3rd degree and criminal facilitation in the 4th degree
Two suspects were arrested for their part in an auto arson scheme. Suspect #1 reported his car stolen on 12/15/03. He stated that he saw his car parked on a Queens street at about 1:00 p.m. on 12/12/03 but when he returned to the neighborhood at about 9:00 p.m. on 12/13/03, the car was gone. However, the FDNY had responded to a location in upper Manhattan on 12/12/03 and found suspect #1's car engulfed in flames. Inquiries made by the FDNY disclosed that the car had not been reported stolen as of 12/12/03. The FDNY's Bureau of Fire Investigations/Fire Marshal's Auto Fraud Squad was notified. They conducted an Origin and Cause examination and classified the fire an arson. During the investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the FDNY, suspect #1 admitted to owning the vehicle in question which he stated he purchased as a favor for a friend, suspect #2. Suspect #2 drove the car and made the loan payments. However, there came a point when neither man could afford the payments so they agreed to have the car "stolen" and burned.
On 4/27/04, Charles Cadorette, a licensed life insurance agent, was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to grand larceny on 2/18/04. Cadorette submitted fraudulent claims to FEMA, the Red Cross and Safe Horizons alleging that he lost his business and his income as a result of the September 11 disaster. He also filed a claim with Newark Insurance Company for artwork and furniture he reported having lost in the attack but which he never possessed. An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Manhattan DA's Office revealed that he used $50,000 in funds received from FEMA to make mortgage payments on his summer home.