NY Man Arrested in WTC Life Insurance Fraud

February 26, 2003

NY authorities announced the arrest of Merle D. Hover of Glen Aubry, New York, on charges of insurance fraud and attempted grand larceny stemming from a fraudulent claim he submitted stating that his daughter was killed in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11.

New York State Insurance Superintendent Gregory V. Serio, and Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen and Broome County Sheriff David E. Harder, made a joint announcement of Hover’s arrest.

The charges allege that Hover, 46, attempted to defraud Combined Life Insurance Company of $20,000. “On November 9, 2001 Mr. Hover initiated a life insurance claim by reporting that his daughter was killed on September 11, 2001. The investigation revealed that his daughter was living outside of New York State,” said the bulletin.

“Falsely claiming the death of a family member to benefit from the tragedy of September 11th is unconscionable,” Serio stated. “The Department has remained vigilant in uncovering, investigating and arresting unscrupulous individuals, like Mr. Hover, who have sought personal gain from this national tragedy. Mr. Hover’s crime is particular ghastly and the Department vows to continue to prevent anyone from taking advantage of the World Trade Center tragedy.”

“Through the cooperation of all agencies involved in this investigation, we were able to apprehend a person who was trying to profit from the tragic loss that affected so many as the result of September 11th,” Sheriff Harder stated.

Hover surrendered Tuesday and was arraigned in the Town of Conklin Local Criminal Court and released on his own recognizance. If convicted of the charges, he faces up to 11 years in state prison.

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