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

ISSUED 12/08/2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TROY WOMAN AGREES TO PAY $33,000 IN RESTITUTION

A Troy woman who was seriously injured when she crashed her car into an unoccupied house admitted Monday that she lied about the accident so she could get insurance benefits to pay for medical expenses and lost wages.

Heidi Laviolette, 42, pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in Rensselaer County Court.

She agreed to make restitution of $33,000 to Geico Insurance Company, receive drug rehabilitation treatment and obtain employment. She could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison if she fails to satisfy the conditions imposed by the court.

Laviolette suffered a broken ankle, a fractured rib and a collapsed lung when she crashed her car late on the night of Nov. 13, 2008 in Sand Lake in Rensselaer County.

She obtained no-fault insurance benefits from Geico after claiming she was a passenger when the accident occurred and not the driver. Under most no-fault policies, a person is ineligible for benefits if driving while being intoxicated or impaired contributed to the cause of an accident.

New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau investigators later determined that she had, in fact, been the driver of the car and was intoxicated when the accident occurred.

The case was prosecuted by William Andrews of the Insurance Department, who served as a special prosecutor for the office of District Attorney Richard J. McNally Jr.

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