New York AG Schneiderman Announces Arrests Of Five Individuals Charged With Auto Insurance Fraud

New York News - AG Schneiderman - Announces Arrest of 5 Individuals - Auto Insurance Fraud

New York AG Schneiderman Announces Arrests Of Five Individuals Charged With Auto Insurance Fraud
Albany, New York, USA at the New York State Capitol

“Operation Crash & Buy II” Results in Charges Against Defendants in Queens, Brooklyn, and Suffolk County for Allegedly Increasing Insurance Coverage After Their Vehicles Were Damaged and Then Making False Claims

Investigation Part of Broader Focus by AG’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit on Efforts to Defraud Insurance with Claims for Damage and Thefts that Occurred Before Policy Effective Dates

NEW YORK, NY (STL.News) New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the arrests of five individuals for an auto insurance scheme in which they allegedly purchased or increased automobile insurance policy coverage after their vehicles were already damaged, and then misrepresented the dates of loss in claims submitted to their insurance carriers. The five defendants were arrested on felony complaints filed in Queens, Kings, and Suffolk County, and face charges including Falsifying Business Records, Insurance Fraud, and Attempted Grand Larceny.

Today’s charges are the result of “Operation Crash & Buy II,” an investigation initiated by the Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit (“AIFU”) in conjunction with the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The joint investigation targeted fraudulent claims made to auto insurance carriers for damage and thefts that occurred before the policy effective dates. This operation is a continuation of a prior proactive investigation seeking to hold accountable those who purchase or increase coverage after a loss already occurred. These two sweeps have now resulted in eleven arrests.

“New Yorkers’ pay more when fraudsters cheat the system,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Insurance fraud is a serious crime, and today’s arrests should serve as yet another warning that my office will continue to aggressively identify and prosecute those who try to scam the system.”

“The National Insurance Crime Bureau would like to praise the staff of the New York State Attorney General’s Office for their continued efforts in addressing insurance fraud in New York,” said Kevin Gallagher, Regional Director of the Northeast Region of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “The cost of insurance fraud is shared by all consumers and it is important that we identify and prosecute those responsible for raising our insurance expenses. This investigation sends a strong message to others who may be contemplating engaging in insurance fraud. We look forward to our continued partnership in combatting insurance fraud for all New Yorkers.”

According to the Attorney General’s felony complaints, each of the defendants owned a car that was damaged. After their car was damaged, each defendant allegedly either purchased car insurance, increased the amount of their insurance coverage, or reduced their deductible after the fact, and then filed false claims with their insurance company stating that the incidents occurred after the enhanced policies were in effect.

Those charged include the following individuals:

  • Willie Mack Floris, 37, of Long Pond, Pennsylvania, who allegedly was involved in a car accident on July 23, 2016 and then lowered his collision coverage deductible from $2,500.00 to $500.00 before submitting his claim on July 26, 2016. In his claim, Floris falsely stated that the accident had occurred on July 25, 2016. Floris is charged in Queens County with one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony; one count of Insurance Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; and one count of Attempted Grand Larceny, a class A misdemeanor.
  • Priscilla Valdez, 34, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who allegedly was involved in a car accident on July 14, 2016, added collision coverage minutes after the accident, then filed her claim on July 25, 2016, falsely stating that the accident had occurred sometime during the night of July 24 to July 25, 2016. Valdez is charged in Kings County with one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony; one count of Insurance Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; and one count of Attempted Grand Larceny, a class A misdemeanor.
  • Alston Jones, 54, of Canarsie, Brooklyn, who allegedly was involved in a car accident on January 31, 2016, added collision coverage on February 3, 2016, then filed a claim on March 30, 2016, falsely stating that the accident had occurred sometime during the night of March 29 to March 30, 2016. Jones is charged in Kings County with one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony; one count of Insurance Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; and one count of Attempted Grand Larceny, a class A misdemeanor.
  • Brian Correia, 34, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who let his insurance coverage lapse while he was away on a trip, and returned from his trip on January 17, 2016 to discover that his vehicle had been vandalized. Correia reinstated his insurance policy that night, then filed his claim the morning after, falsely claiming that the vandalism and theft occurred on January 18, 2016. Correia is charged in Kings County with one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony; one count of Insurance Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; and one count of Attempted Grand Larceny, a class A misdemeanor.
  • Victor Carrasquillo, 27, of Brentwood, Long Island, who allegedly filed a claim on April 3, 2016 for damage to the rear passenger side of his vehicle, then withdrew the claim after learning that his deductible was $2,500.00. On April 7, 2016, Carrasquillo lowered his deductible from $2,500.00 to $500.00, and then on May 10, 2016 allegedly filed a claim for the same damage, falsely claiming that the damage had occurred on April 22, 2016. Carrasquillo is charged in Suffolk County with one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony; one count of Insurance Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony; and one count of Attempted Grand Larceny, a class A misdemeanor.

If convicted of the top count, each defendant faces a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison. The Attorney General thanked the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the New York State Department of Financial Services, GEICO, and Esurance for their valuable assistance in this investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Hendrick, with the assistance of Legal Analyst Yuriy Kurbatov and Supervising Legal Analyst Paul Strocko of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton and Deputy Bureau Chief Joseph G. D’Arrigo. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Margaret Garnett.

The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigators Severino Concordia and Zylona Silva of the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit, under the direction of Supervising Investigators Edward Keegan and Natalie Shifrin and Deputy Chief Leonard D’Alessandro. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.

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SOURCE: news provided by AG.NY.GOV via USPress.News – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC

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