Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office issued a press release on Friday, February 20, updating the public on two recent insurance fraud prosecutions in Worcester County. Both cases arise out of a partnership with the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau and assistance from a $40,000 grant from the Division of Insurance to defray the costs of insurance fraud prosecutions.
Insured gets nine months sentence for attempting to defraud his insurer by crashing his vehicle into a concrete abutment
In 2009, Leominster resident Christopher Foti, approximately 30 years of age, had a seemingly unfortunate accident in Worcester when his car crashed into a concrete abutment. Mr. Foti duly reported the one-car accident and filed a claim for damages with his insurance company.
The rather routine claim took a bizarre twist when a witness to the accident came forward and gave a statement that Mr. Foti had been wearing a crash helmet, a chest protector, and elbow pads when he drove into the abutment.
In response to this eyewitness statement, Mr. Foti’s insurance company denied his claim and made the statutorily required referral to the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau. The Fraud Bureau, in return, further investigated and then requested the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office to prosecute Mr. Foti for motor vehicle insurance fraud.
As a result of the IFB’s investigation, the District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Foti. In July 2014, he waived trial, pleaded guilty, and received a jail sentence with nine months to be served in the Worcester House of Correction.
In commenting on the unexpected outcome of this case, District Attorney Early said, “This is the sort of fraud that, if left unchecked, would lead to higher insurance rates for the people of Worcester County.”
District Attorney’s Office wins consecutive jail sentences for insured’s attempted larceny and filing false police report
In another unrelated Worcester case, a six person jury in the Worcester Central District Court convicted Antonio Quinones, 58, of fraudulently reporting his vehicle stolen to collect on his automobile’s comprehensive coverage.
While Mr. Quinones’ crime was perhaps more run-of-the-mill than Mr. Foti’s creative approach to trying to defraud his insurer, it was no less serious. Mr. Quinones, who simply reported his car stolen, filed the mandatory police report, and tried to get his insurance company to pay him.
The police investigated the theft and found a number of inconsistencies in Mr. Quinones’ statements, including some incriminating parking tickets. The vehicle also was recovered several weeks after its reported theft.
The Worcester County District Attorney’s elected to prosecute Mr. Quinones for insurance fraud and won convictions against him before a jury for automobile insurance fraud, attempted larceny and filing a false automobile theft report with the police.
At his sentencing, Mr. Quinones was given two and one-half years in the Worcester House of Correction on the insurance fraud charges and one year in the House of Correction on the false theft report. The second one year sentence was imposed to be served “from and after” Mr. Quinones two and one-half year sentence. As a result, Mr. Quinones easy money scheme to defraud his insurer landed him in jail for a total of three and one-half years.
Coincidentally, both Mr. Quinones and Mr. Foti are serving sentences in the same House of Correction.
Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Worcester County District Attorney claim $150 million saving from eight year partnership combating insurance fraud
In other news from The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, the Worcester DA’s office recently issued an announcement tallying the amount of money the DA’s Office has saved through its partnership with the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts.
“The Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts and DA Early have been partners in the fight against insurance fraud for over eight years,” said Anthony M. DiPaolo, Chief of Investigations of the Insurance Fraud Bureau. “This partnership has resulted in cost savings of about $150 million and reduced automobile insurance premiums for the citizens of Worcester County. District Attorney Early’s commitment to fight insurance fraud has made this program a success.”
District Attorney Early echoed the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s saying that “I am happy to partner with the Insurance Fraud Bureau.”
The Office of District Attorney also acknowledged a grant from the Massachusetts Division of Insurance to support the combined fraud program which helps offset the cost of insurance fraud investigations and prosecutions.