Six weeks after arresting 112 persons on various charges of insurance fraud, (See IJ Website Dec. 6) New York’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit has struck again with the arrest of 20 persons accused of being part of another ring in the NYC area that specialized in staging accidents, filing fake medical reports and submitting phony medical bills to collect on insurance claims.
The 20 defendants are being charged in 11 separate cases. The most serious charges against them include Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Insurance Fraud in the Second Degree, which carry penalties of 5-15 years in prison.
New York State Insurance Department Superintendent Gregory V. Serio and Attorney General Elliot Spitzer both expressed satisfaction at the results obtained by by Spitzer’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit which began operating in November following an executive order by Governor George E. Pataki designating the Attorney General as the special prosecutor for auto insurance fraud.
“No-fault Fraud and abuse has become the number one rate driver in New York State’s auto insurance marketplace. It is estimated that auto insurance fraud in the state totals over $1 billion a year and costs the typical New York driver $300 to $400 a year in higher insurance premiums,” said an NYSID announcement.
“Fraud rings, medical mills, staged accidents, and bogus claims take hard-earned money out of the pockets of each and every New York driver,.”Serio stated. “We must continue to be vigilant in rooting out crooks who defraud the system and protect New York’s consumers from paying the price.”
Spitzer indicated that the recent arrests were “only the beginning of what’s to come.” “With these arrests, we’re serving notice that we’re putting the brakes on insurance fraud,” he continued.
The NYSID also announced that Belinda Lovander, a former NYPD administrate aide, charged in the December arrests, had plead guilty to using her police computer to file 22 phony accident reports. She faces a 2 to 6 year jail term.
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