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

ISSUED 10/14/2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EX-BINGHAMTON INSURANCE BROKER SENTENCED TO PROBATION

A 59-year-old former insurance broker who sold insurance despite having his license revoked in 2002 was sentenced to five years’ probation in Broome County Court on Wednesday for pocketing $90,000 in premiums from businesses in locations ranging from New York City to Watertown.

Thaddeus J. Okoniewski, of 1 Rugby Rd., Binghamton, was sentenced by Judge Martin E. Smith. The sentence was handed down more than a year after Okoniewski pleaded guilty to grand larceny. Sentencing was adjourned until now so that Okoniewski could make restitution to his victims.

Okoniewski was arrested in September 2006 after an investigation by the New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau and the office of Broome County District Attorney Gerald F. Mollen.

The investigation was begun after a New York City apartment owner complained to the Department that an insurance claim was never paid despite repeated inquiries to Okoniewski. The Department found that Okoniewski had given the apartment owner a forged insurance certificate and kept $31,000 in premiums.

Frauds Bureau Investigator Gordon A. Saggese said the investigation identified four other businesses victimized in a similar way. Each of the businesses believed they were covered by valid property or general liability insurance polices. They included a Tioga County nursing home, a self-employed painter, a Watertown area motorcycle dealership, and a Westchester County country club, which lost $50,000 in premiums.

Okoniewski sold the fraudulent polices after his insurance broker’s license was revoked by the Insurance Department in June 2002. That action occurred after he admitted selling bogus workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephen D. Ferri prosecuted the case.

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