October 27, 2016—The Insurance Fraud Bureau (“IFB”) has announced insurance fraud charges against Kevin Flaherty, 45, of 15 Riverdale Avenue, Haverhill, for attempted larceny and filing a false motor vehicle insurance claim.
Mr. Flaherty apparently lives by the motto, “If, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again” as he had previously been convicted of defrauding the City of Haverhill in 2009, and served four months in jail for his crime.
Defendant’s policy cancelled before tree falls on claimant’s uninsured vehicle
The IFB notice on its website relating to charges being brought by the Haverhill police against Mr. Flaherty for insurance fraud reference for the background of the case from the October 27, 2016 article of the Eagle-Tribune by Peter Francis.
According to the article an IFB investigator presented evidence to the Haverhill police that Mr. Flaherty had submitted false information attempting to collect for a tree branch falling on his truck.
Mr. Flaherty had let his truck’s insurance policy lapse in July, 2015. He had been notified in August by the Registry of Motor Vehicles that his truck’s registration was being revoked, but he apparently did nothing to rectify the problem.
On September 10, 2015, however, a large tree branch fell on his truck and caused over $4,000 in damage. When he called his insurer later that day, he was informed that his coverage had lapsed on July 27, 2015. Mr. Flaherty immediately reinstated the truck’s policy. The reinstatement took effect the next day, September 11, 2015.
On September 16, 2015, Mr. Flaherty reported the loss to the truck claiming that the tree branch had fallen on the truck on September 13, 2015. Mr. Flaherty claimed that he had been unable to report the loss sooner for family reasons but that he did have pictures of the damaged truck taken on the day of the loss that he furnished to the carrier.
Loss photo submitted to insurer had date stamp the day before policy reinstated
On September 17, Mr. Flaherty’s carrier sent an appraiser, who estimated the damage to his truck at $4,102.00.
The photos Mr. Flaherty had submitted to the insurance carrier, however, raised a red flag. The photos showing the damaged vehicle had a time stamp evidencing that they had been taken on September 10, 2015, the day before Mr. Flaherty’s automobile insurance policy was reinstated.
Further investigation by the carrier established that a Haverhill Highway Department work order dated Sept. 11, 2015, reported that a fallen tree had been removed from Mr. Flaherty’s street, Riverdale Avenue, on September 10, 2016.
A little over a month after he had submitted his claim, his insurer denied the loss, forwarded Mr. Flaherty’s claim to the IFB, and advised Mr. Flaherty that he might wish to consult an attorney.
IFB brings claim to Haverhill police who file insurance fraud complaints in district court
In July 2016, the IFB met with Haverhill police about their investigation. As a result, the police interviewed Mr. Flaherty who confessed to filing the false insurance claim.
While The complaints filed in the Haverhill district court for automobile insurance fraud is a felony carrying a penalty of up to five years in state prison, the district court’s jurisdiction is limited to a house of correction sentence for not less than 6 months nor more than 21/2 years or by a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000.
Second time around for Mr. Flaherty for fraud
Mr. Flaherty is no stranger to the commonwealth’s criminal courts. On June 2, 2009, after a nine-day jury trial, Mr. Flaherty and his father, James Flaherty, were found guilty of grand larceny from the City of Haverhill by a continuous scheme. Kevin Flaherty was also convicted of presentation of false claims.
Father and son each received jail sentences.
Kevin Flaherty was sentenced to two years in the house of correction, with four months to serve, and the balance suspended for two years on the charge of grand larceny. On the charge of presentation of false claims, a Superior Court judge ordered that Mr. Flaherty serve three years of probation, with a condition of his probation, to pay restitution to the city and perform 200 hours of community service.
Convicted of running private company with public employees and public property
The 2009 convictions arose out of the Flahertys being employed the Haverhill Highway Department and using city property for their private paving and construction companies.
James Flaherty was a superintendent at the Highway Department until his retirement in April 2007. Kevin Flaherty was a foreman at the Highway Department until he was terminated on June 12, 2007. In addition to his work at the Highway Department, James Flaherty owned two private businesses, JM Flaherty & Sons, a paving company, and JM Flaherty Construction, a home building company.
Kevin Flaherty was heavily involved in his father’s paving and construction businesses and directly participated in the theft of city-owned paving materials. The evidence showed that Kevin Flaherty regularly drove his private dump truck into the Highway Department’s yard and loaded up the city’s asphalt for use on JM Flaherty & Sons private jobs.
Additionally, Mr. Flaherty and his father charged the city for new and replacement parts for their private vehicles, including a special shuttle door on a dump truck used by the Flahertys for their private paving jobs.
Based on an anonymous tip and further investigation, In January 2007, the State Police executed search warrants at the Highway Department Office and James Flaherty’s Haverhill home seizing evidence that led to the Flahertys indictments by an Essex county grand jury in August 2007.