NEW YORK (Reuters) - Five people in suburban New York were arrested on Wednesday and accused of staging automobile accidents and submitting fraudulent insurance claims, authorities said.
The suspects rented U-Haul trucks and intentionally ran them into cars driven by other members of the accused ring, who then faked injuries, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
During 2010 and 2011, he said, they staged three accidents in Long Island, a suburban area east of New York City.
After staging the accidents, they would lie to responding police officers and pretend the accidents were real, he said.
The five are accused of submitting fraudulent insurance claims totaling more than $100,000 and face charges of insurance fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records.
If convicted, accused ringleader Jean Guilberto, 35, of Wyandanch, New York, faces as much as 21 years in prison. The others face the possibility of seven years in prison.
“Insurance fraud costs all New Yorkers," Schneiderman said in the statement. "Breaking up staged automobile accident rings means safer streets and safer communities."
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst)