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Eric R. Dinallo   Superintendent of Insurance  25 Beaver Street  New York, N.Y. 10004

ISSUED 09/03/2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BROOKLYN MAN CHARGED WITH $130,000 WORKERS’ COMP FRAUD AGAINST ALBANY-BASED INSURANCE COMPANY

A 60-year-old Brooklyn man who maintained that a workplace injury left him unable to stand, walk or drive has been arrested on charges that he fraudulently claimed $130,000 in lost wage benefits and medical expenses.

Lev Gurariy, of 2318 E. 27th St., was arrested Aug. 27 by Investigator Jaclyn Oreshan of the New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau, assisted by the Town of Colonie police. He was arraigned before Town of Colonie Court Justice Peter Crummey on charges of insurance fraud, falsifying business records and workers’ compensation fraud.

Gurariy started receiving workers’ compensation benefits after claiming that he suffered neck and back injuries in 2003 while employed as a machine operator by Carts Food Equipment Corp., of Brooklyn. He claimed the injuries occurred while handling a sheet of stainless steel with a co-worker.

First Cardinal Insurance LLC, of Albany, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier for Gurariy’s former employer, asked the Insurance Department to look into the case after it became suspicious of medical expenses Gurariy claimed.

Investigators gathered evidence showing Gurariy walking and even taking a bus trip to spend time gambling in Atlantic City casinos. The evidence included videotapes of Gurariy, which were shown to independent medical examiners who had earlier examined him. Upon viewing the videotapes, the examiners told investigators the tapes contradicted the physical condition Gurariy presented when he was examined. One videotape showed Gurariy apparently easily lifting a five-year-old child.

In addition, investigators charged the videotapes contradicted written and verbal statements Gurariy made to the Workers’ Compensation Board in which he consistently asserted he was unable to stand or walk.

If he is convicted, Gurariy could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. He was released on $1,000 bond pending a hearing to be scheduled in Albany County Court. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney John Spencer. The case is being tried in Albany County because that is where First Cardinal is located.

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