Reputed Mobster Pleads Guilty to Staged Accidents, Insurance Fraud Charges in New York

August 4, 2004

A reputed member of the Bonanno crime family pleaded guilty to running a major insurance scam, which used a corrupt medical clinic in Queens to file millions of dollars in bogus insurance claims.

Joseph Fratta, who was indicted in April along with 36 other defendants, pleaded guilty to charges ranging from money laundering and fraud to enterprise corruption, a charge under New York’s organized crime laws.

The scam involved a syndicate that recruited people to stage auto accidents. They would then turn up at a clinic in Queens, called the Medical Arts Center, which would fake medical treatment and file insurance claims.

The scheme involved doctors and lawyers and operated under the protection of the Bonanno family, according to the Queens district attorney’s office. The indictment alleged that Fratta managed the scheme and received a salary from the clinic.

Fratta “acknowledged that he and others ran a medical clinic in Richmond Hill, Queens for the sole purpose of ripping off insurance companies for millions of dollars in false claims,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement.

Fratta faces four and a half to nine years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 25. An attorney for Fratta had no comment.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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