Today’s news:

DA indicts nine in Qns. Village insurance scam

TimesLedger Newspapers

An investigation dating back to 2008 has resulted in the indictment of nine individuals and a Queens Village medical clinic for an alleged insurance scam that bilked no-fault insurers out of $150,000, the Queens district attorney said this week.

DA Richard Brown said the defendants are variously charged with the crimes of scheming to defraud, insurance fraud, grand larceny, attempted grand larceny and falsifying business records.

If convicted, the individual defendants — seven from Queens and two from Brooklyn — face up to seven years in prison.

The medical clinic, Queens Integrated Medical Care, at 209-05 Jamaica Ave., faces felony charges punishable by a fine up to double the amount of the illegal gain.

“No-fault fraud and abuse is a billion-dollar-a-year business in New York and should not be viewed as a victimless crime,” Brown said. “Such rip-offs hit the honest consumer in the pocketbook by way of higher premiums. Today’s indictments send a clear message to those who are attempting to fleece the system for their own personal gain that law enforcement’s fight against insurance fraud is ongoing and that those who cheat will be sought out and vigorously prosecuted.”

According to the criminal complaint, the ring allegedly exploited New York’s no-fault law, which requires vehicles registered in the state to carry insurance that allows drivers and passengers to obtain up to $50,000 in medical coverage incurred as a result of an accident regardless of who may be at fault.

The NYPD’s Fraudulent Accident Investigation Squad and the Queens district attorney’s Rackets and Organized Crime Bureau launched the investigation in June 2008 with surveillance and court-authorized electronic eavesdropping on Integrated Medical Care.

The investigation revealed that Integrated employees would steer clients — individuals who had been in legitimate, though minor, car accidents — to the clinic in exchange for monetary compensation from clinic manager Albert Kopolovich, who then instructed these clients to fabricate and exaggerate injuries, the DA said. The clinic’s medical providers could provide a “cookie cutter” course of medical treatment designed to bill no-fault insurers at the maximum rate per patient — $50,000 under New York’s no-fault law, the complaint said.

Kopolovich, of Brooklyn, is charged with scheming to defraud, insurance fraud, grand larceny, attempted grand larceny and falsifying business records.

The other defendants include Hazel Abrams, 55, of Rosedale; Aaron Dawkins, 25, of Cambria Heights; Antoinette Duncan, 40, Rolph Nozine, 28, and Tamara Easy, 26, all of Jamaica; Wilburt Gordon, 54, of Rochdale; Raymond Mattison, 53, of Springfield Gardens; and Jason Wade, 27, of Brooklyn.

“Health insurance costs are through the roof and fraud is one of the reasons why,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “I want to commend the NYPD detectives, Queens prosecutors and the state Department of Financial Services for working together to put this fraud factory out of business.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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