10 charged in N.Y. with staging car accidents and falsifying reports to receive fraudulent insurance payments
Ten individuals have been charged in New York with participating in and coordinating a series of staged motor vehicle accidents, as well as falsifying their involvement in other vehicular incidents, to fraudulently collect insurance payouts. The defendants were charged in multiple indictments in N.Y. State Supreme Court with insurance fraud in the third and fourth degrees and falsifying business records in the first degree.
According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, the defendants were charged with orchestrating and participating in a series of staged accidents and vehicular collisions involving “jump-ins,” in which the defendants claimed to be inside affected vehicles in order to fraudulently obtain medical benefits and insurance payouts.
In New York State, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident is automatically covered by the Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance Reparations Act, commonly known as the No-Fault Law. No-Fault insurance carriers are required to provide up to $50,000 in individual reimbursements for a wide range of medical and health services for injuries incurred as a result of car accidents. In addition to medical coverage, victims of motor vehicle accidents also may be eligible to recover money from an insurance carrier for bodily injury lawsuits stemming from incurred injuries.
In this case, many of the defendants were accused of agreeing to participate in staged accidents in exchange for upfront payments or the promise of settlement funds from bodily injury lawsuits stemming from the supposed accidents. Some defendants also allegedly filled out insurance forms with false information about purported injuries sustained during the collisions, as well as complications such as head, back, shoulder, and knee pain, to receive reimbursement from insurance carriers.
The alleged incidents included three separate staged accidents and three separate jump-ins, all in New York City. As alleged:
- On August 19, 2011, Carmelo Pereira intentionally drove a rented U-Haul truck into a livery cab at the corner of Broadway and West 228th Street.
- On March 8, 2011, Brenda Nunez, Cindy Nunez, Claudia Nunez, and Jeanette Nunez agreed to participate in a staged accident and acted as passengers in a livery cab that was intentionally struck by a U-Haul truck driven by a co-conspirator at the corner of 9th Avenue and West 207th Street.
- On August 19, 2010, George Pagan agreed to participate in a staged vehicular accident at the corner of West 228th Street and Broadway involving a U-Haul truck rented by a co-conspirator and intentionally driven into the livery cab in which Mr. Pagan was riding as a passenger.
- On February 21, 2013, a car was involved in a motor vehicle accident near the corner of Fulton Street and Williams Place. Aaron Tyler fraudulently claimed to have been inside a car involved in the accident and fraudulently received medical treatment for injuries allegedly incurred during the collision.
- On March 20, 2014, a parked car was struck by another vehicle near the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and West 178th Street. Leroy Mensah and Matthew Williams claimed that they were inside the car at the time of the collision and fraudulently obtained medical treatment for supposed injuries.
- On June 9, 2014, a parked car was struck and damaged near the corner of Clarkson and Utica Avenues. Dillett Delancy fraudulently claimed to have been inside the car at the time of the collision and received medical treatment for injuries allegedly incurred during the accident.
Prosecutors said that, in total, the defendants submitted approximately $137,000 in fraudulent medical claims.
Mar 04, 2015 | By Steven A. Meyerowitz