The New York State Insurance Department announced that 16 people, includng four current and one former NYPD officer, have been charged with grand larceny and other offenses in the theft of nearly a quarter of a million dollars from seven insurance companies.
In a separate bulletin, Boston-based OneBeacon noted the assistance it had given authorities in making the arrests.
The defendants are charged with multiple counts of Grand larceny, insurance fraud, bribery and other crimes relating to an auto fraud ring that induced insurance companies to pay claims for over $229,700 for medical treatment, bodily injury and property damage based on accident reports of automobile collisions that never happened, and medical procedures that never occurred. They’re also charged in connection with claims involving an additional $130,633 in billing that the insurance companies didn’t pay.
“The 16 criminals arrested today including 4 police officers, are perpetrating no-fault insurance fraud and stealing money from the auto insurance system causing rates to increase for honest New Yorkers. The arrests today are particularly offensive because the four police officers, who are entrusted to protect us and uphold the law are now the ones we need protection from,” stated NYSID Superintendent Gregory V. Serio. “The arrests today make it clear that no one is above the law – if you commit insurance fraud you will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The claims were filed with Allstate Insurance Co., State Farm Insurance Co., Metropolitan Group Property & Casualty Co., One Beacon Insurance Co., Prudential Property & Casualty Insurance Co., Travelers Property Casualty, and Kemper Auto & Home Group Insurance Co.
“The investigation uncovered evidence that Efrain Colon and Henry Mendez, partners in a Bronx barbershop business supplied the names of the victims that appeared on the accident reports. Colon, a former NYPD officer, allegedly recruited his ex-wife, Trinidad Martinez, ex-brother in-law Police Officer Julian Martinez, and Police Officer Irvin Maldonado to generate the phony accident reports. Mendez, a former police officer in the Dominican Republic, allegedly recruited Police Officer Ernesto Colon, brother of Efrain Colon, and also prepped the ‘accident victims’ by telling them what to say when they went to various clinics for medical treatment, and what to claim when seeking compensation from the insurance companies,” said the NYSID’s announcement.
OneBeacon issued a bulletin noting the assistance the company had given to investigating authorities, and stressing its commitment to fighting fraud. Larry Milanesi, Regional Manager of OneBeacon’s Special Investigations Unit, said the case demonstrates what the public and private sectors can achieve working together.
“Each of us pays for insurance fraud in higher costs for consumer products, higher taxes for law enforcement and higher insurance premiums,” Milanesi stated. “OneBeacon will do whatever it can to help combat this problem.”
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