Sixteen people in Brooklyn, N.Y., have been arrested for their roles in allegedly staging auto accidents to fraudulently receive insurance payouts.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the arrests on Tuesday, March 6. He said the criminal conspiracy involved the intentional crashing of cars into unsuspecting drivers as well as individuals agreeing to fake accidents with each other.
In all, the defendants submitted fraudulent insurance claims totaling $400,000, according to authorities.
The 16 defendants are charged with multiple crimes, including insurance fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records, as well as misdemeanor conspiracy to commit these crimes.
These defendants are charged with conspiring to create nine staged accidents in Brooklyn, beginning in September 2009, to fraudulently bill insurance carriers and collect illegal payouts.
Some defendants allegedly arranged and participated in the accidents, while others agreed to be the passengers in the vehicles. Still others pretended that they had been in a particular accident, when in fact they had not even been in the vehicles that crashed. The most recent incident charged in today’s arrests occurred in May 2011.
In several instances, the defendants allegedly rented U-Haul trucks and intentionally crashed them into livery cabs. In those cases, one group of defendants drove or were passengers in a U-Haul truck, while the other group of defendants agreed to hail a livery cab, driven by an unsuspecting driver, which the U-Haul driver would then crash into.
In a second type of staged accident, the defendants pretended to be pedestrians struck by other defendants or by vehicles driven by unsuspecting drivers. The defendants in these cases claimed that the drivers ran into them, when in reality they either walked into the vehicle or slapped the vehicle to make it sound like they had been struck. Finally, in other incidents, the defendants agreed to crash two vehicles into each other.
In New York State, a person injured in an auto accident is automatically covered by the Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance Reparations Act, commonly referred to as the No-Fault law.
No-Fault insurance carriers are required to provide reimbursement for a wide range of medical and health services for injuries related to car accidents, up to $50,000 per person. In addition to medical coverage, a victim in an auto accident may be eligible to recover money from an insurance carrier for a bodily injury lawsuit stemming from injuries resulting from the accident.
Auto insurance frauds have come under spotlight recently in New York. Only a week ago, federal and local authorities dismantled a massive auto insurance fraud ring and arrested 36 people including doctors and lawyers.
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