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5 accused of staging accidents to get insurance payouts

Five people were indicted Wednesday after state prosecutors said they staged three Long Island accidents between trucks and cars, leading to more than $100,000 in injury claims to insurers.

They rented U-Haul trucks, and ringleader Jean Guilberto, 35, of Wyandanch, recruited the truck drivers and the cars' occupants with promises of cash or big injury settlements, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office said.

Each car typically had two to three occupants, and after the crashes, Guilberto directed them to show up with "fictitious injuries" at Freeport Medical P.C., on Main Street, prosecutors said. They lied to police, prosecutors said, and on insurance forms, they lied about having injuries.

In the crashes, a Mitsubishi was rear-ended in Bay Shore Oct. 30, 2010; a Chevrolet was sideswiped in Babylon on Dec. 19, 2010; and a Toyota was rear-ended in Hempstead June 29, 2011, prosecutors said. Based on the false claims, the clinic billed insurers for the three accidents, authorities said. The clinic wasn't named in the indictments.

Schneiderman's office said the defendants were able to collect some of the money but did not say how much. His investigators started looking into the case after being notified by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, based on an investigation conducted by U-Haul and RepWest Insurance.

The five were arrested and arraigned Wednesday in State Supreme Court in Mineola on various felony charges, including third-degree insurance fraud.Three other unidentified defendants were indicted and are being sought, authorities said.

Guilberto was charged with three counts of third-degree insurance fraud and three counts of third-degree grand larceny. He was held, with bail set at $15,000 bond or $7,500 cash, and if convicted on all counts, faces as much as 21 years in prison, prosecutors said.

Guilberto's attorney could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.The others arrested were Troy Russell, 32, of Amityville; Alecia Holland, 38, of Wyandanch; Larry Henley, 46, of Uniondale; and Jahmari Monroe, 27, of the Bronx.

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