Safety of New York’s Roadways at Risk While Staged Accidents Go Unpunished
New York, NY—June 8…New Yorkers Stand Against Insurance Fraud (NYSAIF) was joined today by the leading auto organization AAA New York and Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens Village) to highlight the economic impact and safety risks associated with no- fault insurance fraud–one of the state’s fastest growing crimes. AAA New York joined the call on the Assembly to pass “Alice’s Law,” which would toughen penalties against those who stage accidents.
“Insurance fraud is a crime that costs everyone billions of dollars every year, and in the case of Alice Ross and others, their lives,” said AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair. “New Yorkers pay some of the highest insurance rates in the country, with drivers in our region suffering under the tremendous burdens of high rates, high tolls, high repair costs, high fees and surcharges and the resulting high anxiety. With 1.6 million members, AAA New York urges the Assembly to pass the pending bills that would make staging auto crashes a felony to help provide needed relief to the insured of New York.”
New York City drivers pay approximately 60 to 300 percent more than the statewide average for no-fault insurance coverage. New York as a whole was suffered from fraud costs ranging from roughly $250 million in 2010 and billions since 2005. Recent busts of major auto insurance fraud rings highlight how criminals have been able to capitalize on the loopholes in the state’s no-fault insurance laws.
“We’re thrilled to have the premier automobile organization AAA New York on our side,” said NYSAIF Spokesman David Schwartz, also a former Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney. “The Assembly needs to consider the state’s ten million registered drivers, law enforcement officials and organizations like AAA that are fighting for reform of the state’s no-fault insurance laws. With only two weeks left of session, action is needed immediately.”
“The New York State Assembly is engaged in serious deliberations on many issues important to New Yorkers, but I ask that “Alice’s Law” not be lost in the end-of-session shuffle,” Assemblyman Weprin said. “This common sense legislation easily passed in the State Senate, and I am 100% confident that it would pass in the Assembly if it were reported out committee and voted upon.”
“Alice’s Bill” is named after 71-year-old Queens grandmother, Alice Ross, who was killed in a staged accident nine years ago. The provisions of the bill stipulate that a person who operates a car and intentionally causes a collision with intent to commit insurance fraud would now face the charge of staging a motor vehicle accident. It would be a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison. It overwhelmingly passed the Senate on March 22nd with a vote 58-1.