NYPD Officer Arrested On Duty in $18 Million Insurance Fraud Scam Targeting Low-Income Neighborhoods
An $18 million insurance fraud scheme targeted car accident victims from “the hood,” according to the United States Attorney’s Office. Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the arrests of 27 people earlier this month, including a New York Police Department officer and five 911 operators. The police officer, Yaniris Deleon, was on duty when federal agents took her into custody with assault weapons drawn.
Deleon is accused of providing confidential information about car crash victims to a network of criminals led by suspected career fraudster, Anthony Rose, to allegedly commit medical insurance fraud in exchange for payment. Rose, 51, is suspected of masterminding the elaborate no-fault insurance scheme that involved bribes to NYPD employees as well as staff at various federally-funded hospitals throughout the city in exchange for the confidential information of car crash victims. Rose’s wife and son were also arrested.
According to recently unsealed documents from the indictment, Rose paid out thousands of dollars in bribes for “leads” containing the accident victims’ information. That protected patient information was then used by insurance scammers through a phony call center that would steer the victims to a specific network of doctors and lawyers in New York and New Jersey for unnecessary treatments. Since the investigation began in 2014, Rose and his co-conspirators are believed to have illegally steered more than 6,000 motor vehicle accident victims to participating clinics and lawyers, who paid kickbacks in return for the referrals. The scheme involved burner phones, code names, and spreadsheets tracking bribe payments.
“Anthony Rose and his associates masterminded a brazen scheme that involved bribing 911 operators, medical personnel, and police officers for the confidential information of tens of thousands of motor vehicle accident victims. These actions have undermined the integrity of our emergency and medical first responders,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney, Geoffrey Berman, said.
Deleon and the 911 operators were suspended immediately, officials said. “There is no place for corruption within the NYPD,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said via statement. “By tarnishing the shield, as well as their sacred oaths, these employees will be held to the highest account the law provides,” added O’Neill. Deleon pleaded not guilty. She was released on $50,000 bond.
The government indicated that ten months of wiretapped conversations exist in which Rose details exactly how the scheme transpired. Rose instructed his scam callers to target victims in low-income communities because he believed they would be easy marks, authorities said. “The hood is number one,” Rose allegedly told co-conspirators. “All that Manhattan s–t, those people got attorneys. We need all the hood cases,” the indictment quotes Rose as saying.
The National Heath Care Anti-Fraud Association estimates that health care fraud costs the U.S. about $68 billion annually — approximately 3% of the nation’s $2.26 trillion in health care spending.