The New York State Insurance Department announced the arrest of an additional 21 persons (112 were indicted last December), charged with participating in an auto fraud insurance ring in Queens.
The NYSID said that the arrests were part of “a continuing auto insurance fraud crackdown.” They’re charged with “with falsely claiming that they had been automobile accident victims who had sought settlements of up to $25,000 from several insurance companies.” Another 20 individuals, thought to be part of the same ring are still being sought.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Whiplash,” began in 1999 when investigators uncovered an organized network of attorneys, doctors, medical professionals and others, including a New York Police Department police administrative aide, who were operating one of the largest no-fault insurance fraud rings ever uncovered in New York.
The NYSID bulletin said that “The corrupt NYPD PAA was identified as Belinda Lovander, 30, of Jamaica, Queens. She pled guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced on March 5, 2002 to serve two to six years in prison. She admitted that she created 22 bogus accident reports using the NYPD’s computer system to support fraudulent claims that the insurance fraud ring submitted to numerous insurance companies.”
“The defendants charged today all are alleged to have submitted false claims of automobile accident related injuries stemming from 10 purported accidents in Brooklyn and Queens between May 15, 2000 and March 19, 2001 that were subsequently “validated” by the fake police accident reports created by PAA Lovander,” the announcement continued.
Commenting on the arrests, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown stated that “Insurance fraud is a crime that affects us all, mainly by increasing the auto insurance rates for honest drivers. The defendants are alleged to have cheated the system for their own selfish gain but were discovered because of the combined investigative vigilance of investigators of the Queens District Attorney’s office, the New York State Insurance Department, the New York Police Department and the State Police. The charges send a clear message that combating insurance fraud is a top law enforcement priority and will not be tolerated.”
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