Mass. Investigators Disrupt Large-Scale Auto Insurance Fraud Ring
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — Nearly 300 indictments have been handed up following an multi-state insurance fraud investigation.
Mary Carey, spokesperson for the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, explains that grand juries in Hampshire and Franklin Counties handed up 289 indictments against 38 people following a year-long investigation.
That investigation – conducted by the D.A.’s office, along with the Mass. State Police, Department of Homeland Security, and the Insurance Fraud Bureau – involved an alleged insurance fraud scheme that investigators believe spanned six years.
Carey adds those allegedly involved with the scheme were were primarily from the New York City area, but insured and registered vehicles in Massachusetts, by reportedly claiming to live at “false or non-existent residential addresses in Northampton, Easthampton and Greenfield.”
“By doing so, the involved individuals are alleged to have paid substantially lower premiums than they otherwise would have had they reported their true residential addresses in and around New York City,” Carey explains.
Investigators believe that hundreds of thousands of dollars in premium avoidance occurred over the six years during which the alleged scheme operated.
Carey notes that 138 of the 289 indictments are against 55-year-old Lefen “Helen” Chen of Flushing, N.Y. who allegedly “orchestrated the scheme by accompanying the other involved individuals to insurance agencies and assisting them with the fraudulent insurance applications.”
Chen and eight other people were arrested in New York on Tuesday, August 12 and Wednesday, August 13. During court appearances there, they waived extradition back to Massachusetts.
Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan says, “These indictments are the by-product of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office’s ongoing partnership with the Insurance Fraud Bureau, through which we continually strive to detect, investigate and prosecute those who cheat the system and raise insurance costs for all of us.”
Nine of those indicted are scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon in Franklin County Superior Court.