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

ISSUED 12/01/2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JAMESTOWN MAN ARRESTED AFTER STAGING SLIP AND FALL

A 46-year-old man who claimed he was injured when he tripped and fell over a rug at the entrance to a Jamestown food store was arrested for insurance fraud Nov. 25 after a video surveillance camera revealed that he staged the accident.

Benedict Harkins, of 401 W. 7th St., Jamestown, was arrested by Jamestown police as the result of an investigation by David Hahn of the New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau. He was also charged with attempted petit larceny.

Harkins claimed he was injured when he fell at the Farm Fresh Food market on July 24. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance and treated for a purported back injury. However, Hahn said that investigators later reviewed video from the market’s surveillance camera, showing that Harkins simply laid down on the floor after adjusting the rug to make it appear that he had tripped.

Harkins submitted an insurance claim for his purported injuries to the market’s insurer, Travelers Insurance Company, but later withdrew the claim after being informed of the video. He was charged with attempted petit larceny for submitting an $860 bill for the ambulance service to the market for payment.

If he is convicted, Harkins could be sentenced to up to one year in prison. He was released pending a hearing to be scheduled in Jamestown City Court. The case is being prosecuted by office of Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley.

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