YONKERS, N.Y. – A New York City police officer and former Yonkers resident was convicted Tuesday for his involvement in an insurance fraud scheme, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.
Jose E. Urena, an officer assigned to the NYPD’s 25th Precinct, created a scheme in which he would defraud auto insurance companies through false claims so that he acquire high-end vehicles he couldn’t afford, pocket insurance money for personal use, pay for repairs of pre-existing damage and to add expensive features to various vehicles.
According to court documents and statements made by prosecutors, Officer Urena falsely reported a claim to Nationwide Insurance Company in May 2012 that his leased 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML350 had been vandalized. After Nationwide paid $9,289.39 for the vandalism claim, Urena allegedly used the money to repair pre-existing damage to the car.
In Jan. 2013, Urena filed another fraudulent claim for the same Mercedes. He reported the car stolen one day before his lease expired – when the car was nearly $2,000 over the mileage limit and a week after cashing a check for $6,242.03 for repairs that were never made. He then reported the car stolen, but had asked an individual to dispose of the car for him. It was later found burned out in a warehouse in the Bronx.
In March 2013, Urena was not able to keep up with payments on his 2007 Mercedes Benz S550, and allegedly purposefully rear-ended a U-Haul truck. His insurance company, GEICO, wrote off the car as a loss.
The fourth false claim occurred July 2014, when his 2011 Dodge Charger was involved in an accident and he submitted another claim that inflated the cost of repairs to GEICO, who provided him with a $7,503.97 check. Urena used that payout to add new features to the car.
Urena pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying business records in the first degree, a felony. He is scheduled to be sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison Oct. 22.
In addition to Tuesday’s plea, Urena is expected to plead guilty in New York County Supreme Court Aug. 4 to felony charges of scheme to defraud in the first degree and insurance fraud in the third degree in exchange for a sentence of 2 to 6 years in prison, to run concurrent to his sentence in Westchester County.
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