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

ISSUED 09/22/2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

MTA POLICE OFFICER ARRESTED FOR INSURANCE FRAUD

A Nassau County man employed as an MTA police officer was arrested Sept. 12 for filing a fraudulent $28,375 insurance claim for a diamond ring that he reported missing but was actually being worn by his fiancée.

John V. Barnett, 40, of 776 Gehrig Ave., Franklin Square, was arraigned in Queens County Court following his arrest by Investigator Rosalind Thomas of the New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau, assisted by New York City police.

Barnett faces a single felony count of insurance fraud. If convicted, he could be sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released on his own recognizance pending a future court hearing.

According to Thomas, Barnett purchased the diamond for approximately $15,000 in July 2006 under a promotional program sponsored by USAA, an insurance company that serves current and former military personnel. A lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Barnett had the stone set into a $2,200 18 karat gold setting. He then insured the ring with USAA in December 2006 for $28,375.

Barnett reported the ring missing in 2007. He filed a claim with USAA, telling the insurer he lost the ring while going to a jeweler to have it cleaned. Investigators later tracked Barnett’s fiancée – who was not implicated in the case -- and photographed the ring on her finger.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Theresa E. Smith, under the supervision of James M. Liander, Bureau Chief, and Carmencita N. Gutierrez, Deputy Bureau Chief, of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown's Integrity Bureau.

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