Investigation Charges Six-Person Ring With Stealing Over $120k From Auto Insurance Carriers.
New York, NY – June 7, 2017 – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a 42-count indictment, charging six individuals for their participation in an auto insurance fraud scheme in which the defendants allegedly cheated insurance carriers out of over $120,000 by submitting fake property damage claims for high-end vehicles. Four of the charged defendants, including ringleader Carlington Haye, were arrested and arraigned today in Kings County Supreme Court.
“When a few people organize to commit insurance fraud, all New York consumers pay the cost,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office remains committed to rooting out fraud of any kind and this is no exception.”
According to the Attorney General’s indictment, between January 2014 and September 2015, members of this insurance fraud ring allegedly conspired to submit 11 fake property damage claims, which included multiple false misrepresentations, including the manner in which car accidents and purported damages occurred. The defendants also allegedly resubmitted claims for the same vehicles with preexisting damages multiple times. In order to maximize insurance payments, the defendants utilized high-end vehicles, including a Lexus, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Bentley. The defendants received payments ranging from $5,000 to over $20,000 for their property damage claims.
In addition, prosecutors allege that in three of the charged claims, the defendants used the stolen identity of a United States serviceman. As a result of their alleged conspiracy, the defendants fraudulently obtained a total of over $120,000 in insurance payments for their counterfeit claims and cashed insurance checks at two Pay-O-Matic check cashing branches in Kings County, New York.
The Attorney General’s 42-count indictment, unsealed today in Kings County Supreme Court, charges the defendants with Insurance Fraud in the Second Degree (a class C felony), Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree (a class D felony), Identity Theft in First Degree (a class D felony), Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a class D felony), Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (a class E felony), Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a class E felony) and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree (a class A misdemeanor). The following six defendants are charged with multiple felonies:
Carlington Haye, age 35, of Kings County, New York
Mkada Beach, age 36, of Kings County, New York
Omari Brown, age 22, of Kings County, New York
Keon Cole, age 33, of Kings County, New York
Dexter Karl, age 27, of Kings County, New York
Theresa King, age 26, of Kings County, New York
Defendants Carlington Haye, Mkada Beach, Omari Brown and Theresa King were arraigned today in Kings County Supreme Court before the Justice Danny Chun. Defendant Haye was remanded into custody pending a bail application; bail was set in the amount of $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash for defendant King; and defendants Beach and Brown were released on their own recognizance.
If convicted of the top count charged, ringleader Carlington Haye will face up to 5 to 15 years in prison, and the remaining defendants face up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
These arrests are the culmination of a long-term investigation conducted by Attorney General Schneiderman's Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit. The Attorney General thanks the National Insurance Crime Bureau, New York State Department of Financial Services, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, New York City Police Department, New York City Department of Finance Office of the City Register, and the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for their invaluable assistance in this case. The Attorney General also thanks State Farm Insurance Co., GEICO Insurance Co., Nationwide Insurance Co., United Services Automobile Association, and Progressive Insurance for their valuable assistance.
“The National Insurance Crime Bureau would like to applaud 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 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.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Hendrick of the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit, with the assistance of Supervising Legal Analyst Paul Strocko and Legal Analyst Isabela Peña-Gonzalez. The Auto Insurance Fraud Unit is led by Chief Joseph G. D’Arrigo. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Jason Brown.
The case was investigated by Investigators Joseph Buffolino and Michael McNally, 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.