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Tort Fraud

DOI spearheads a Tort Fraud Task Force that includes the DOI General Counsel's Office, the Squad of NYPD Detectives assigned to DOI, the City Law Department and the City Comptroller's Office.  The Task Force's goal is to identify fraudulent claims against the City and prevent such claims through a combination of criminal prosecutions and recommendations for changes in City procedures to reduce the opportunity for fraud.

In connection with the work of the Tort Fraud Task Force, DOI investigates allegations of fraud with an eye towards referring violations of law for criminal prosecution.  DOI has assisted in recovering money wrongfully paid out by the City and in preventing plaintiffs from receiving monetary settlements or judgments where they were procured by fraud and other misconduct.  DOI has instituted proactive investigations into apparent patterns of tort fraud that have become evident as a result of DOI's investigative efforts. 

DOI's investigations of tort fraud against the City have uncovered a number of instances of criminal conduct in claims against the City. 

For example, in one case, DOI uncovered evidence that a claimant against the City was using the identity of a deceased legal resident to hide the fact that the claimant was living and working in the United States illegally.  The Manhattan District Attorney's Office agreed to prosecute the claimant for perjury; however, he fled the country before he could be arrested.  His multimillion dollar claim against the City was subsequently dismissed.

In another case, DOI received information that a witness in a wrongful death case had solicited a bribe for false testimony.  DOI conducted an undercover operation, during which the witness took a cash bribe in return for writing out a statement in which he knowingly lied about what he had seen at the time of the death.  The witness was immediately arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to charges arising from this investigation.

More recently, the joint efforts of the task force resulted in the dismissal by a federal court judge of a bogus claim in which a man asserted that he received neck and back injuries from the 2003 Staten Island Ferry crash. But a DOI investigation uncovered evidence that the man was not on the ferry at the time of the accident and also that he had neck and back injuries from multiple prior motor-vehicle accidents. DOI investigators obtained and reviewed medical, payroll and bank records, interviewed multiple witnesses, and worked closely with the City Law Department and the Office of the City Comptroller throughout their defense of the case. As a result, the Law Department refused to settle the claim and took it to trial in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York. In November 2009, a bench verdict was issued and the Court entered a judgment in favor of the City and attributed costs to the plaintiff.

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