Arrests for August 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
- A former upstate dentist, Tejbir Oberoi, was sentenced on 8/17/04 to five years and three months in federal prison and ordered to repay several insurance companies nearly $225,000 for submitting fraudulent insurance claims. Oberoi pled guilty in federal district court on January 2004 to two felonies: mail fraud and knowingly offering a false statement in connection with a health care matter. At the time, Oberoi admitted that he "knowingly and willfully" submitted "false, fictitious and fraudulent" insurance forms in 1995 and 1996. He was indicted in October 1999 on 157 counts of health care fraud in which he was accused of billing for services never rendered and in some cases for services purportedly provided to patients he had never met.
- Jeffrey M. Herber, a financial consultant from Rome, NY, was sentenced on 8/2/04 to 6-to-18 years in prison for stealing $730,000 from 13 clients. Herber was arrested in January 2004 on charges that he cheated clients of more than $342,000. Herber put investment money from his clients to his personal use and produced fraudulent financial statements claiming the funds were deposited into investment accounts. He was previously arrested in August 2003 for stealing $76,400 from another client under similar circumstances. Both arrests were the result of investigations by the Frauds Bureau and the City of Rome Police Department. Herber has returned about $200,000 of the stolen funds.
- NO BONES ABOUT IT
Arrested on 8/25/04
Charged with insurance fraud in the 3rd degree, attempted grand larceny in the 3rd degree and fraudulent practices under the Workers' Compensation Law
The defendant in this case filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits stating that on 7/11/04 he broke his right foot and wrist in a job-related accident. However, an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the State Insurance Fund revealed evidence that this defendant sustained his injuries on 7/10/04 while operating his All Terrain Vehicle. The State Fund stood to lose more than $18,000 had the fraud not been uncovered.
Arrested on 8/24/04
Charged with enterprise corruption, money laundering, grand larceny, insurance fraud, scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Attorney General's Office led to the indictment of six people and five corporations for their roles in a sophisticated criminal enterprise. This is the first time the Attorney General has filed an indictment charging enterprise corruption in an auto insurance fraud case. Two personal injury lawyers and their law firms, an insurance broker and a licensed acupuncturist were among those charged. According to the indictment, two brothers "steered" those involved in accidents to medical facilities and lawyers that were part of the scheme. The brothers allegedly paid off tow-truck drivers, auto repair shop managers and insurance brokers for the names and telephone numbers of people who had recently been in minor auto accidents. The victims were then instructed to fabricate or exaggerate injuries, submit fraudulent no-fault claims, and retain the defendant attorneys for personal injury lawsuits. Patients received countless unnecessary treatments, including acupuncture, physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, psychological counseling and extensive diagnostic testing. In addition, the brothers were also charged with secretly owning the acupuncture practice of one of the defendants, in violation of state law which requires a professional health practice to be owned by a licensed practitioner. The case is an offshoot of a June 2003 multi-agency investigation conducted by the Frauds Bureau, the Attorney General's Office, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation Inspector General's Office and the New York City Department of Investigation. Four of those named in the recent indictment had been arrested in 2003 and charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
JUMP-BAIL PLAN THWARTED
Arrested on 8/13/04
Charged with enterprise corruption, insurance fraud and money laundering
A man alleged to be the manager of a mob-connected auto insurance fraud ring was arrested on 8/13/04 when prosecutors claimed he was trying to skip bail. The $400,000 bail was set when he and 35 others were arrested last month for their participation in the fraud ring. According to Queens prosecutors, the defendant provided fraudulent tax documents to an Illinois bank in an effort to purchase a twin-engine Cessna which prosecutors claim he planned to use to flee. The documents showed an income of more than $300,000 in 2003 when his actual income was only $76,000. The police also found cocaine in his possession during a search conducted after his arrest.
Arrested on 8/11/04
Charged with filing a false instrument and falsifying business records
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the NYPD's Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad led to the arrest of a Brooklyn barber who was accused of assuming the name of an innocent party when he was involved in an auto accident.
Arrested on 8/6/04
Charged with falsifying business records in the 1st degree and insurance fraud in the 4th degree
The suspect in this case filed a claim with Progressive Insurance Company for damage to her 1994 Mazda as a result of an accident that occurred in March 2001. The insurer paid her $1,571 for her loss but she did not have the car repaired. In January 2003, she submitted a second claim to Progressive for damage to the Mazda as a result of another accident. However, an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Oneida County DA's Office turned up photos that Progressive had taken at the time of the original claim that showed the damage to be identical to the damage reported in the second claim.
TWO FOR ONE
Arrested on 8/5/04
Charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument and insurance fraud
A physician's office manager was charged with stealing more than $5,000 in payment checks, forging the name of the physician who was her employer and depositing the money into her personal account. In addition, this defendant presented forged prescriptions for a controlled substance narcotic to various pharmacies in the Syracuse area, using the names of patients or family members without their knowledge. When the prescriptions were picked up, she arranged for the insurers to be billed directly. A co-conspirator to the scheme was also charged in this case.
MAJOR NO-FAULT FRAUD
Arrested on 8/3/04
Charged with insurance fraud, falsifying business records, attempted grand larceny, practicing or appearing as an attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered, conspiracy to commit grand larceny and attempted petit larceny
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Attorney General's Office resulted in the arrest of ten individuals and five corporations accused of operating a no-fault fraud ring out of a Queens medical facility. The defendants include nine health care providers alleged to have fraudulently billed an insurer for services never rendered or unnecessary treatments, including extensive diagnostic testing, medical evaluations, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and acupuncture. The indictment charged that fraudulent claims were submitted by three medical doctors, a dentist, a psychologist, two physical therapists, a chiropractor and an acupuncturist. The charges stemmed from a long-term investigation of the Queens medical facility that began in spring 2003.
THIS IS ASSISTANCE?
Arrested on 8/2/04
Charged with scheme to defraud
A Brooklyn physician assistant was charged with taking out a $250,000 life insurance policy on a patient who was suffering from kidney failure and hypertension and naming herself the sole beneficiary. Allegedly, the defendant took out the policy in September 2000 with Guardian Life Insurance Company without the knowledge of the patient and made monthly premium payments until December 2002. At that time, Guardian became suspicious and contacted the Frauds Bureau which conducted a joint investigation with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that led to the arrest.
Carol Ross of Nassau County was convicted of insurance fraud in the 5th degree and sentenced on 7/5/04 to conditional discharge and a $500 fine. Ross submitted a fraudulent receipt for the repair of a damaged carpet in support of a homeowners claim filed with Preferred Mutual Insurance Company. Her arrest was the result of an investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the Nassau County DA's Office.
Arrested on 7/22/04
Charged with arson, insurance fraud, attempted grand larceny, falsifying business records and falsely reporting a crime
A Brooklyn woman reported that her 2004 Chevy Cavalier bearing Florida plates was stolen on 6/1/04 while she was at a restaurant in Queens. She claimed that she parked the car near the restaurant at about 8:40 p.m. on the evening of 6/1. However, the same car with the same plates was discovered engulfed in flames in Brooklyn at about 7:00 that same evening. The New York City Fire Marshals conducted a Cause and Origin examination and classified the fire as arson. An investigation conducted jointly by the Frauds Bureau and the FDNY's Bureau of Fire Investigations led to her arrest.
Arrested on 7/20/04
Charged with arson in the 3rd degree, insurance fraud in the 3rd degree and attempted grand larceny in 3rd degree
An investigation by the Frauds Bureau and the New York City Fire Marshals brought about the arrest of a woman for destroying her 2002 Jeep Cherokee in order to collect the insurance settlement. The car was discovered on fire in Queens on 6/26/04. Responding Fire Marshals declared the fire incendiary.
Mazen Abdelaziz was convicted of insurance fraud in the 3rd degree and sentenced to three-years probation on 6/7/04. Abdelaziz submitted a fraudulent claim for damage to refrigeration equipment that he falsely blamed on the major power failure that blacked out much of the northeastern United States and parts of Canada on 8/14/03. The Frauds Bureau and the Suffolk County DA's Office joined forces in this investigation.