Two men concocted a scam to collect $100,000 in insurance money by deliberately driving an expensive British sports car into an Islip canal two years ago, the Suffolk district attorney's office said Friday in announcing their indictment.
William Keenan, 53, of Patchogue, drove a 1974 red Jensen Interceptor into the canal off Main Street on July 28, 2016. The car's owner, Robert Caires, 62, of West Islip, then filed for a $100,000 insurance claim, prosecutors said.
Both men also submitted personal injury claims, authorities said.
But video surveillance found by insurance investigators showed the two in a parking lot by the canal before the crash, police said. One man, identified by authorities as Keenan, then could be seen driving off in the sports car, while the other man, who prosecutors say was Caires, remained in the parking lot.
Moments later, the red car could be seen veering off the road and into the water, the video shows.
Authorities said the video then showed Caires jumping into the water to "stage" his involvement in the crash. Authorities said he lied to police about being in the car at the time.
Caires was indicted on charges of second-degree insurance fraud, third-degree falsely reporting an incident, three counts of first-degree falsifying business records and fourth-degree conspiracy,
Keenan was indicted on second-degree insurance fraud, two counts of third-degree falsely reporting an incident, three counts of first-degree falsifying business records and fourth-degree conspiracy.
Both were arraigned Friday and pleaded not guilty. They were released on their own recognizance.
“These individuals thought they could scam the system and get away with it, but they were sadly mistaken," District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said.
Caires' attorney, Michael Alber, said Saturday that his client — a chiropractor who does pro bono work on children's vaccines — has "absolutely no financial motivation" for insurance fraud.
"I anticipate that Dr. Caires will be fully exonerated," Alber said. "There is no crime that has been committed."
Keenan is being represented by Melissa Quinn of Legal Aid, court records show. She could not be reached on Saturday.