What to Know
- A tip to DOI about a falsified claim left on a photo copy machine prompted the investigation
- Combined, the defendants allegedly bilked AFLAC out of more than $500,000
- The defendants face a maximum of seven to 15 years in prison on the top felony counts against them
Thirteen current and former EMTs and NYPD traffic enforcement agents face varying counts of felony grand larceny and insurance fraud for allegedly bilking an insurance company out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The defendants -- 10 current and former EMTs and three NYPD traffic enforcement agents -- allegedly targeted the American Family Life Assurance Company, the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States.
According to the city's Department of Investigation, which led the probe in conjunction with the attorney general's office and the New York State Department of Financial Services, the suspects engaged in a series of schemes that netted them more than $500,000 total, with one defendant defrauding AFLAC of nearly $112,000 alone.
The defendants allegedly submitted claim forms to AFLAC requesting supplemental insurance because of a disability that prevented them from working or receiving their full salaries. In some cases, the claim forms had forged signatures of supervisors and doctors, officials say.
According to city records, some of the defendants were working their normal jobs, collecting their salaries from the city, while also cashing supplemental disability insurance, officials said. On top of that, some also put in for -- and received -- overtime pay during the period of the alleged fraud.
Officials say the investigation was launched after a tip to DOI from a person who claimed to have seen a falsified AFLAC claim form left on a photo copy machine. The 13 defendants, who range in age from 28 to 58 and had been receiving annual base salaries from the city ranging from $36,000 to $67,000, surrendered to law enforcement in Queens and Brooklyn Tuesday.
Officials say no city funds were stolen as a result of the alleged fraud. All of the defendants were suspended, FDNY employees with pay, NYPD employees without pay, upon their arrests. They face a maximum of seven to 15 years in prison on the top felony counts against them.
"Public employees are entrusted to adhere to the highest code of conduct," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. "Yet these defendants undermined the public trust in government and the integrity of our insurance system by perpetrating this alleged scheme."
"We depend on honesty and integrity from all our public servants and these workers failed us," added DOI Commissioner Mark Peters. "Our independent investigation will continue to root out this corrupt behavior with more arrests expected to follow."