Ten People Indicted for Staging Vehicular Accidents and Falsifying Collision Reports to Receive Fraudulent Insurance Payments


February 25, 2015

Defendants Accused of Making False Injury Claims Related To Back, Head, Shoulder, and Knee Pain 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, and New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky today announced the indictment of ten individuals for participating in and coordinating a series of staged motor vehicle accidents, as well as falsifying their involvement in other vehicular incidents, in order to fraudulently collect insurance payouts. The defendants are charged in multiple indictments in New York State Supreme Court with Insurance Fraud in the Third and Fourth Degrees, and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.[1]

“Vehicular collisions already affect too many lives, causing tremendous trauma and loss,” said District Attorney Vance. “In this case, the defendants allegedly took advantage of a system intended to support those who are truly suffering from the impact of devastating crashes by staging accidents and manufacturing fraudulent injury claims in order to receive insurance payouts. Here in New York, this kind of insurance fraud is all too common, and I thank our partners at the NYPD and DFS for remaining vigilant against No-Fault insurance schemes.”

Police Commissioner Bratton said: “Some people see car insurance fraud as an opportunity to turn a profit, but this criminal practice forces other drivers to pay higher insurance premiums.  Thanks to the hard work of the investigators assigned to the NYPD’s Fraudulent Collision Investigation Squad, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and the NYS Department of Financial Services, these individuals were identified and arrested for their alleged participation in this illegal scheme.”

DFS Superintendent Lawsky said: “Rip-off artists trying to make a fast buck through staged accidents and fake injuries should take notice of these arrests. This is another step in our efforts to root out No-Fault fraud, which drives up insurance costs for all New Yorkers. The New York State Department of Financial Services appreciates the opportunity to partner with District Attorney Vance and the NYPD on this investigation and we look forward to continuing to work with them in combatting No-Fault fraud.”

According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, between August 2010 and June 2014, the defendants are 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 may also be eligible to recover money from an insurance carrier for bodily injury lawsuits stemming from incurred injuries.

In this case, many of the defendants are 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, in order to receive reimbursement from insurance carriers. The alleged incidents included three separate staged accidents and three separate jump-ins:

Staged Accidents

  • On August 19, 2011, CARMELO PEREIRA, 48, 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, 28, CINDY NUNEZ, 27, CLAUDIA NUNEZ, 23, and JEANETTE NUNEZ, 30, 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, 27, 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 PAGAN was riding as a passenger. 

Jump-Ins

  • On February 21, 2013, a car was involved in a motor vehicle accident near the corner of Fulton Street and Williams Place. AARON TYLER, 45, 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, 22, and MATTHEW WILLIAMS, 23, 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 DELANCEY, 37, 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.

In total, the defendants submitted approximately $137,000 in fraudulent medical claims.

Today’s indictments are the result of an ongoing investigation into staged accidents and No-Fault insurance fraud led by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Rackets Bureau and the NYPD, in conjunction with DFS. 

In January, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced more than $3.7 million in grant funding to combat motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud. A portion of the grant was awarded to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, as well as several other district attorneys’ offices, police departments, and training organizations, to enhance efforts to reduce related types of crime and fraud.

Additionally, in a 2012 op-ed in the New York Daily News, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office advocated for stronger laws aimed at enhancing the ability of local law enforcement to prosecute and prevent No-Fault insurance fraud.  

Assistant District Attorney Carey Ng is handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Michael Ohm, Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau; Judy Salwen, Principal Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau; Jodie Kane, Chief of the Rackets Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Trial Preparation Assistant Justine Chiu, Senior Investigator David Moser, and Supervising Investigator Donato Siciliano of the Investigation Bureau also provided assistance with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked the following members of the NYPD for their assistance with the investigation: Chief Thomas Purtell, Commanding Officer of the Organized Crime Control Bureau; Inspector John Denesopolis, Commanding Officer of the Organized Crime Investigation Division; as well as Captain Brian Sayre, Lieutenant Edwin Martinez, Sergeant Kevin Crimmins, Detectives Patrick Donohue, Joe Oliver, Rafael DeJesus, Christopher George, James McCarton, and the NYPD Fraudulent Collision Investigation Squad.

District Attorney Vance also thanked the following members of DFS for their assistance with the investigation: Investigators George Capaccio, Dennis Carmody, Frank Hunt, and Desroy Jeffrey; Assistant Chief Investigator Sean Ralph; Frauds Bureau Director Frank Orlando; Deputy Chief Investigator John Browne; and Executive Deputy Superintendent Joy Feigenbaum.

Defendant Information:

DILLET DELANCEY, D.O.B. 7/9/1977
Brooklyn, NY

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

LEROY MENSAH, D.O.B. 12/15/1992
Hudson, NY

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

BRENDA NUNEZ, D.O.B. 7/6/1986
Bergen, NY

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

CINDY NUNEZ, D.O.B. 6/4/1987
New York, NY

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

CLAUDIA NUNEZ, D.O.B. 10/17/1991

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

JEANNETTE NUNEZ, D.O.B. 12/9/1984
Pima, AZ

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

GEORGE PAGAN, D.O.B. 11/12/1987
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

CARMELO PEREIRA, D.O.B. 6/20/1966
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

AARON TYLER, D.O.B. 1/30/1970
Brooklyn, NY

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

MATTHEW WILLIAMS, D.O.B. 5/29/1991
Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

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