New York Police Arrest Man in Phantom Insurance Claim Scheme

March 30, 2010

Authorities in Upstate New York have arrested a man they say used a phony bank account to buy insurance on a home he didn’t own so he could cash in on property losses that didn’t occur.

Buffalo police arrested Sidney Edwards following an investigation by the New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau.

Edwards is accused of buying an Allstate homeowners’ insurance policy on a home in Kenmore and then filing a claim for damages to a garage door. Allstate honored the claim and mailed Edwards a check for $1,600. Edwards then contacted Allstate complaining he never received the check, so the insurance company mailed him a second check for $1,600.

Investigators said Edwards apparently picked out a home at random and used the address to buy a homeowners’ policy on the property. He provided Allstate with a fictitious bank account number for payment of the premium.

The investigation revealed the real property owner didn’t know Edwards and was unaware of the policy Edwards bought. Investigators said no damage ever occurred to the garage door on the property. However, they said Edwards received both claims checks from Allstate and cashed them at local stores.

Edwards was charged with grand larceny and was released in his own recognizance. He faces three years in prison if he is convicted.

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Source: New York State Insurance Department

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