NY Man Arrested for Disability Fraud

April 23, 2002

The NYSID announced the arrest of Joseph Patelunas, 32, of Elmira, New York, on charges of insurance fraud. He is accused of collecting no-fault benefits for a disability when in fact he was not disabled, and of falsifying business records to commit a no-fault insurance fraud.

According to the complaint Patelunas submitted a written statement in the form of a No-Fault update form to Progressive Insurance in March 2001, which concealed information concerning a change in the nature of his disability claim. Subsequent evidence showed that his status had in fact changed and that the disability no longer existed.

The announcement states further that, “On August 3, 2001, Mr. Patelunas allegedly visited a licensed physician for a physical examination pursuant to a requested Independent Medical Exam by Progressive Insurance to determine if additional benefits should be paid. The actions of Mr. Patelunas during the physical examination gave the doctor the impression that he suffered from a rather severe disability which subsequently would be recorded on a report to Progressive Insurance, when in fact evidence shows that he had no physical disability.”

Patelunas’ arrest was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the NYSID’s Frauds Bureau, the Elmira Police Department, and the Progressive Insurance Company’s Special Investigation Unit.

On April 13th, 2002, Mr. Patelunas was arraigned and released on his own recognizance to reappear in Elmira City Court. If convicted of these charges, he faces up to four years in state prison.

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