Before 2009 ends, a form of insurance scam known as rate evasion has been committed and filed in Pennsylvania. Charges were already filed against 1 state driver and 23 other individuals from New York and New Jersey.
Reports say that defendants are facing charges of insurance fraud for presenting fraudulent information to a government agency, applying for auto insurance using false or misleading information, and for fraudulent application for state registration. The defendants are facing possible five to seven years of incarceration and payment of $10,000 up to $15,000 worth of penalties.
Defendants were already identified and arrested, except for three from New York who are still wanted by authorities. The 17 accused scammers from New York are William Copenny, Ilya Bratman, Ilya Guberuk, Amir Ka-El Cummings, Garfield Babagee, Estelle Howe, Maxime Mathe, Rose Michel, Antonio Perez-Delossantos, Mekiva Reed, Jacqueline Santiago, Kareem Sims, Laurell V. Sobers, Ala Uddin, Juan F. Coreas, Stephen McFarlane, and Ilias Stefou. Coreas, McFarlene, and Stefou are still sought after by the police. The 6 from New Jersey are Carlos Estrada, Brian Hayes, Anthony Lopresti, Irena Potocka, Keith Queen, and Anna I. Prosteva; while the one from Pennsylvania is Elsa Perez-Delos Santos. The arrest of the 21 accused were said to be a result of joint efforts by law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, the scam of rate evasion is done by fraudsters from other states in an attempt to get Pennsylvania auto policies for their cars. Corbett explains that the felony involves submitting fake information to the state Department of Transportation to access vehicle registration files and drivers’ licenses records of local policyholders. This information will then be used to get considerably lower rates on their car insurance.
Rate evaders are looking for the cheapest insurance costs possible, and included in their list of options is Pennsylvania because of the state’s minimum mandated coverage and substantially low premium rates. Corbett said that because of the high premium charges paid by average drivers from New York and New Jersey, they are more likely to commit rate evasion. Corbett adds that New York and New Jersey drivers can save up to $1,100 to $4,000 in insurance costs per year by falsely claiming to Pennsylvania citizens and getting their vehicles insured in the state. A report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau reveals that New York ranks 9th in the US list of states with the highest number of reported fake car accidents staged by felons simply to get claim payments.