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

ISSUED 04/15/2009FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SHOPLIFTING CASE LEADS TO ROCHESTER INSURANCE FRAUD ARREST

A Rochester woman who reported her SUV stolen hours after she abandoned the vehicle while it was being observed by police in a shoplifting investigation was arrested Friday for insurance fraud, the New York State Insurance Department reported.

Rochester police arrested Tiffany Parnell, 29, of Garson Avenue, Rochester, for filing a fraudulent insurance claim with Progressive Insurance Company for the purported loss of her 1998 Chevrolet Blazer.

William Fedrau, an investigator with the Insurance Department's Frauds Bureau, said Parnell was arrested as part of an investigation begun Aug. 28 after she and an unnamed companion were identified as shoplifters by merchants at the Waterloo Outlet Mall in Seneca County. Parnell abandoned her vehicle in the mall's parking lot after police were called by the merchants.

Several hours later, Parnell telephoned police to report that her vehicle had been stolen. She also filed an insurance claim. State police subsequently advised her that they had recovered her vehicle and asked her to come to the state police station at Waterloo. She was arrested for criminal possession of stolen property in connection with shoplifting when she arrived at the station the next day.

Rochester police and state police assisted in the investigation. Parnell's companion was not charged in connection with the insurance fraud allegation. The shoplifting charge against Parnell is still pending. The insurance claim was never paid.

Parnell could be sentenced to up to three years in prison if she is convicted. She was released pending a hearing in Monroe County Court. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney William Gargan.

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