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Six southeast Queens residents and a Queensboro Hill resident were among 21 people charged last week with auto insurance fraud after they allegedly filed false accident claims seeking settlements of up to $25,000, the Queens district attorney said.
The charges stemmed from a continuing investigation that has netted 112 others in the New York metropolitan area, including a New York City Police Department administrative aide from Jamaica who admitted to providing fake police accident reports to the defendants in a multimillion-dollar auto insurance fraud ring.
Insurance fraud is a crime that affects us all, mainly by increasing the auto insurance rates for honest drivers, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. The defendants are alleged to have cheated the system for their own selfish gain.
The police administrative aide, Belinda Lovander, 30, of 165-07 119th Ave. in Jamaica, pleaded guilty to fraud charges after admitting that she created 22 bogus accident reports using the NYPDs computer system, Brown said. The reports supported false claims that alleged members of the insurance fraud ring submitted to a number of insurance companies including Geico, Progressive, State Farm and others, according to the DA.
Lovander was sentenced on March 5 to two to six years in prison.
The defendants charged on June 19 are alleged to have submitted false accident claims relating to injuries that were supposed to have come from 10 accidents in Brooklyn and Queens between May 15, 2000 and March 19, 2001, Brown said. Each of the claims was supported by reports provided by Lovander, he said.
Rewards from these claims ranged from $975 to $25,000, for a total of $127,118, Brown said. The claims reported false neck and back injuries, he said.
The defendants from Queens include Ashley Asse, 25, of 148th Drive; Jeneve Banks, 21, of 67-27 Kissena Blvd. in Queensboro Hill; Patricia Deleon, 41, of 130-38 146th St. in South Jamaica; Susan Gatling, 49, of 163-49 130th Ave. in Rochdale Village; Leon Haynes, 21, of 241-09 148th Dr. and Ted Joseph, 20, of 241-21 148th Dr., both in Rosedale; and Nakiya Nesbit, 21, of 163-49 130th Ave. in Rochdale Village.
The arrests today should be a wake-up call to other fraudsters that if they commit similar crimes they will go to jail, said New York State Insurance Superintendent Gregory Serio.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300 Ext. 138.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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