New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state will provide nearly $4 million in grant funding to 29 local police departments, district attorneys’ offices and other agencies in the state to combat motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud.
Gov. Cuomo said auto insurance fraud is a crime that costs New York’s consumers and insurers millions of dollars every year. The new grant will help empower local law enforcement agencies with additional resources to combat the problem, the governor said.
The grant is available through the state’s Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention program, which is overseen by a 12-member board that develops the state’s strategy for combating auto theft and insurance fraud, in addition to reviewing grant applications and making the grant awards.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) serves as the staff for the board and administers the grant program, which targets the state’s urban centers and is funded through a $10 fee assessed on insurance policies issued for vehicles registered in the state.
Recipients will use the grants to target suspected auto insurance fraud and continue efforts to combat auto theft, which has been steadily declining in New York.
Since 1997, the number of motor vehicle thefts reported in the state has declined 90 percent. In 2012, 18,677 incidents of suspected motor vehicle insurance fraud were reported to the Insurance Frauds Bureau of the state’s Department of Financial Services, a 9 percent increase over 2011, when 17,121 suspected incidents of fraud were reported. The 2012 incidents included motor vehicle theft; motor vehicle arson; larceny from a vehicle; motor vehicle fraud claims and no-fault insurance claims, all of which were not legitimate.
The following 29 agencies will receive grants and use them in a variety of ways to combat fraud, including: funding either all or a portion of the salaries of assistant district attorneys and investigators specifically assigned to handle motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud cases; funding enhanced enforcement and sting operations; and offering specialized training for prosecutors, police officers and investigators.
Statewide Training Grants
• New York Anti-Car Theft and Fraud Association: $57,000
• The New York State Prosecutor’s Training Institute: $31,900
New York City
• New York City Police Department: a total of $289,700 to two specialized units, the Auto Crime Division and Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad
• Fire Department of New York: $104,900
• Bronx County District Attorney’s Office: $302,500
• Kings County District Attorney’s Office: $227,200
• New York County District Attorney’s Office: $275,000
• Queens County District Attorney’s Office: $568,200
• Richmond County District Attorney’s Office: $77,100
• Nassau County District Attorney’s Office: $169,100
• Nassau County Police Department: $130,000
• Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office: $315,100
• Suffolk County Police Department: $143,200
• Westchester County District Attorney’s Office: $300,900
• Yonkers Police Department: $139,400
• Albany Police Department: $36,500
• Albany County District Attorney’s Office: $68,100
Central New York
• Syracuse Police Department: $26,000
Western New York
• Erie County District Attorney’s Office: $120,700
• Monroe County District Attorney’s Office: $125,000
• Niagara County District Attorney’s Office: $152,100
• Buffalo Police Department: $121,000
• Cheektowaga Police Department: $48,000
• Niagara Falls Police Department: $36,500
• Rochester Police Department: $42,200
• Monroe County Sheriff’s Office: $31,200
• Niagara County Sheriff’s Office: $21,500
Source: New York State Governor’s Office