NY Fraud Investigators Charge 12 in Stolen Car Insurance Scam

May 24, 2002

Twelve persons have been arrested in a sting operation in Queens, charged with falsely reporting that their vehicles had been stolen and collecting the insurance proceeds, totaling around half a million dollars.

The undercover investigation known as Operation Fraud Fools was conducted by the New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau, the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau Auto Crime Division and the Queens District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau. Those arrested include a doctor, a physician’s assistant and a licensed stockbroker, said the NYSID’s bulletin.

“According to the charges, all of the owners falsely reported that their vehicles had, on a certain date, been stolen, when in fact those vehicles were already in police custody pursuant to this undercover police operation, said the bulletin. “The vehicle owners then filed insurance claims, allegedly falsely reporting that their vehicles had been stolen and received settlements of up to $33,599 each. In each case, the owners sold their allegedly stolen cars to an unapprehended third party.”

NYSID Superintendent Gregory V. Serio stated that “Rip-offs like these victimize New York’s drivers who end up paying higher prices and increased auto insurance rates to offset the losses that result from these fraudulent claims.” He also praised investigators cooperative efforts and indicated that progress was being made in the fight against auto insurance fraud.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly also praised his officers, stating, “These individuals thought they could scam insurance companies out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. But like so many frauds, this one has been rooted up and exposed, and its perpetrators will now face the consequences. As always, our undercover officers did a superb job catching these criminals and bringing them to justice.

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