New York Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin announced yesterday that 18 individuals were arrested following an undercover sting investigation involving a garage that functioned as a “chop shop”.
The individuals have allegedly defrauded over 10 insurers by submitting false claims that their cars were stolen when they had in fact turned them over for dismantling. This sting was part of a larger investigation, conducted jointly by the Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau, Queens District Attorney’s office and New York Police Department’s Auto Crime Division, which resulted in the arrest last January of Carmine Agnello, a member of the Gambino Organized Crime family, on charges of various auto-related crimes.
“The individuals arrested today defrauded 10 insurers of over $260,000 by giving up their vehicles as part of this scheme,” Levin said. “The arrests and prosecution of these policyholders sends out a clear message-if you file a fraudulent theft claim you will pay the price.”
The 18 individuals are charged with Insurance Fraud in the 3rd degree for turning their cars over to individuals they believed were chopping up stolen cars for resale as parts and then reporting their cars stolen to the companies that insured them. If convicted of these charges, they each face up to seven years in prison.
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