A total of eight Queens residents have been indicted on insurance fraud charges after they allegedly staged car accidents that would allow them to bill for unnecessary medical treatment as well as coached actual victims to exaggerate injuries, the Queens district attorney said.
The defendants, eight of whom have been arrested and four of whom are being sought, are accused of bilking insurance companies out of more than $45,000, Queens DA Richard Brown said.
“This indictment sends a clear message to those who are attempting to fleece the system that they will be caught and prosecuted,” the DA said. “Such rip-offs hit the honest consumer in the pocketbook by way of higher premiums and will not be tolerated. Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime.”
Defendants include Flushing’s Patrick Dawkins, 22, Queens Village’s Ricaurte Robles, 27, Rego Park’s Aziz Danish, 25, St. Albans’s Mark Ware, Jamaica’s Julian Smith, 32, and Maurice McCall, 29, Brooklyn’s John “Jemal” Davis, 36, and Poughkeepsie’s Steven Holland, 35.
Police are still searching for four more suspects, whose names have been withheld.
The defendants, who were indicted last week before Queens Supreme Court Justice Joseph Zayas, are accused of staging motor vehicle accidents to fraudulently bill insurance companies for medical treatments as well as coaching legitimate accident victims to exaggerate injuries.
“By staging automobile accidents, the individuals… not only stole from insurers, but also may have diverted police resources away from more important matters,” city Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Under the state’s no-fault insurance law, a person injured in an auto accident can receive up to $50,000 to pay medical expenses and lost earnings.
Brooklyn’s John “Jemal” Davis was identified as the alleged ringleader of the operation, the DA said. Between Nov. 2008 and Jan. 2009, he allegedly engaged in a scheme during which he staged several accidents.
The first incident took place on June 9, 2008 at the corner of 174th Street and 111th Avenue. Ware, Robles and McCall allegedly submitted no-fault insurance benefits to Progressive Insurance and Geico in connection to the accident, the DA said. The insurance companies paid out a total $10,000 on the claims.
On Nov. 11, 2008, a second incident allegedly involving Davis, Smith, Dawkins and Holland took place at 253rd Street and 148th Avenue.
Progressive and Safeco Insurance Company paid out a total $15,000 on the claims, Brown said.
A third accident took place on Jan. 6, 2009 at 47th Avenue and 192nd Street. Danish and Davis allegedly faked injuries and billed Geico, which paid out $5,000, according to the charges.
The final incident occurred on Jan. 10, 2009 on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. A woman, who has not been arrested at this time, submitted a claim to Long Island Insurance Company.
But the company, which is now defunct, did not pay the claim.
The defendants were all charged with insurance fraud, grand larceny, attempted grand larceny, falsifying business records and conspiracy, the DA said.