New York Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin announced the indictment of 17 individuals in connection with the operation of a multimillion-dollar auto theft, dismantling and stolen parts ring operating in Queens and Brooklyn. Six of the defendants were charged under the state’s Organized Crime Control Act with operating a criminal enterprise as principals in the ring and 11 others are charged separately.
Arrests for insurance fraud have jumped from 140 in 1995 to 390 in 1999, while criminal convictions have jumped to 194 from 79 in 1995. This year, the Insurance Fraud Bureau reports a record high of 446 arrests to date and 291 convictions. Just last week, an additional 53 individuals were charged in the largest-ever crackdown on no-fault automobile insurance fraud.
According to the charges, Robert Flock, 29, of Ozone Park, was the manager and operator of the theft and dismantling ring. He would allegedly receive orders for specific vehicle parts over the telephone from defendants Harold Ramprasad of Centerville Auto Specialists in Queens, Anthony Pavone of Class A Cars in Brooklyn and Arnold Rosario of 4 Aces Motor Sports in the Bronx, among others.
As the manager of the criminal enterprise, Flock then allegedly would give orders to various thieves, known as “steal men” and dismantlers, known as “cutters” like Joseph Lampisona, Mark Bryzgiel, Jose Roblez and Ray Verdecchia to go out and steal the appropriate vehicle in order to obtain the requested parts. Once the vehicles were stolen, they were allegedly transported to an area known as “The Weeds” – in the vicinity of 78th Street and Forbell Street on the Brooklyn Queens border or to “The Bahas” – adjacent to the Belt Parkway near Fountain Avenue or to Centerville Auto Specialists at 98-31 Linden Boulevard where they were dismantled. The request parts were then taken to the various auto body shops that had ordered them.
The six defendants charged with Enterprise Corruption are Robert Flock, Joseph Lamisona, Harold Ramprasad, Mark Bryzgiel, Jose Roblez and Ray Verdecchia. Enterprise Corruption carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison upon conviction. They and the other 11 defendants are also charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and unlawful dismantling among other crimes. They face up to 7 years in prison if convicted of grand larceny.
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