New York State
James J. Wrynn Superintendent of Insurance 25 Beaver Street New York, N.Y. 10004
|ISSUED 11/02/2010||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
Four people who tried to take taxpayers for a ride by faking injuries after minor accidents involving Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) buses have been arrested, the New York State Insurance Department reported.
Video images showing each of the four behaving casually during and after three separate low-speed accidents contrasted with insurance claims they later filed saying they suffered severe head, neck and back injuries.
Insurance fraud and related charges were filed against:
Marcos Arrington, 47, of Forest Avenue, Niagara Falls; Deniqua S. Ryan, 27, of 24th Street, Niagara Falls; Iris Mozee, 42, of Walden Avenue, Buffalo; and Darrin Spears, 45, of Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo.
They were arrested after an investigation into the accidents in Buffalo and Niagara Falls by the Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau, the NFTA, District Attorneys in Erie and Niagara Counties and Niagara Falls police.
Video images captured by surveillance cameras mounted inside the buses were reviewed as part of the investigation.
Spears claimed to have suffered severe head and neck injuries when he was hit in the head by a part of a light pole that was struck by a bus while he was waiting to board it in downtown Buffalo. Yet, investigators said video images show that Spears was not struck by the object and continued to talk on a cell phone during and after the accident in March.
Arrington and Ryan were passengers aboard a bus involved in a minor accident near the Niagara Falls International Airport in February. Investigators said video didn’t support their claims that they were thrown about the inside of the bus. They said video also contradicted statements by Mozee who claimed to have been seriously hurt while riding a bus in February.
Spears and Arrington are charged with insurance fraud, attempted grand larceny and filing a false instrument. Ryan and Mozee are charged with insurance fraud, attempted petit larceny and filing a false instrument.
Each of the individuals could be sentenced to up to three years in prison if convicted.
They were released pending future court action in Erie and Niagara County Courts.