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

ISSUED 3/12/2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS LED TO 755 ARRESTS ACROSS STATE IN 2008

Overall Arrests Up 6.5% While No-Fault Arrests Jump 52% Over Previous Year

New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau investigations led to 755 arrests in 2008, the Bureau said in its Annual Report for the year released today. That represents a 6.5 percent increase over 2007 and the highest number of arrests stemming from Bureau investigations since 2004 when there were 815 arrests.

“Arrests for crimes like auto give-ups and fraudulent no-fault insurance claims have increased because of the depressed economy, but the greater number of arrests can also be credited to stepped up cooperation with local officials across the state, as well as a sharper focus on major cases,” said Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo.

The Bureau’s Major Case Unit conducted investigations leading to 126 arrests in 2008. The Unit was launched in January 2008 to handle complex cases of suspected fraud involving no-fault insurance, commercial rate evasion, health care and workers’ compensation.

The Bureau reported 154 arrests for no-fault auto insurance fraud, a 52 percent increase over 2007.

The no-fault cases included the arrests of 62 people following a 19-month investigation by the Bureau’s Major Case Unit and other law enforcement agencies. The individuals arrested were accused of staging more than 40 auto accidents over a three-year period so that phony no-fault insurance claims could be filed.

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau and members of the FBI’s New York Health Care Fraud Task Force, including the office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and the New York City Police Department.

Arrests for auto give-ups increased 35 percent over the previous year, jumping from 96 to 130 arrests. Auto give-ups are cases involving suspects who abandon their cars or arrange to have vehicles disposed of so they can file insurance claims. The crime is often associated with individuals who find themselves no longer able to afford vehicle payments or upkeep.

The report also noted:

The complete report may be accessed on the Department's website, www.ins.state.ny.us.

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