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James J. Wrynn    Superintendent of Insurance    25 Beaver Street  New York, N.Y. 10004

ISSUED 3/29/2010FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BUFFALO MAN ARRESTED FOR MAKING PHANTOM INSURANCE CLAIM

A Buffalo man accused of using a bank account that didn't exist to buy insurance on a home he didn't own so he could cash in on property losses that didn't occur was arrested March 23.

Buffalo police arrested Sidney Edwards, 55, of Frankford Avenue, following an investigation by the New York State Insurance Department's Frauds Bureau.

Edwards is accused of buying an Allstate homeowners' insurance policy on a home in Kenmore and then filing a claim for damages to a garage door. Allstate honored the claim and mailed Edwards a check for $1,600. Edwards then contacted Allstate complaining he never received the check, so the insurance company mailed him a second check for $1,600.

Investigators said Edwards apparently picked out a home at random and used the address to buy a homeowners' policy on the property. He provided Allstate with a fictitious bank account number for payment of the premium.

The investigation revealed the real property owner didn't know Edwards and was unaware of the policy Edwards bought. Investigators said no damage ever occurred to the garage door on the property. However, they said Edwards received both claims checks from Allstate and cashed them at local stores.

Edwards was charged with two counts of fourth degree grand larceny. He was released in his own recognizance pending a hearing to be scheduled in Erie County Court. He could be sentenced to up to three years in prison if he is convicted.

 

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