New York State authorities said they busted a group of scammers on Long Island, where five suspects are accused of fraudulently collecting more than $100,000 in insurance by staging vehicle crashes.
The alleged ringleader, 35-year-old Jean Guilberto of Wyandanch, staged three crashes in which rented U-Haul trucks intentionally crashed into cars packed with suspects, who were treated for fake wounds at a Freeport clinic in 2010 and 2011, authorities said.
“Breaking up staged automobile accident rings means safer streets and safer communities,” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.
Guilberto was charged with insurance fraud and grand larceny. Facing the same charges are 32-year-old Troy Russell of Amityville, 38-year-old Alecia Holland of Wyandanch, 46-year-old Larry Henley of Uniondale and 27-year-old Jahmari Monroe of the Bronx.
Prosecutors said that Guilberto recruited the U-Haul drivers and the occupants of the second vehicle with promises of cash payments or lucrative personal injury lawsuit settlements. The suspects allegedly lied to responding police officers by pretending that the crashes were real.
The fake injuries were treated at Freeport Medical, where the suspects allegedly filled out insurance forms that included false information about the crash and their made-up injuries. The clinic billed insurance carriers more than $25,000 for each crash.
Guilberto faces up to 21 years in prison and the others face up to 7 years in prison, if convicted.