2004-10-01 / Community

Former Local In $5.2 Million Insurance Scam

By Brian Magoolaghan

Sandra Grey lived in Arverne when she allegedly tried to defraud insurance companies out of millions of dollars.
Sandra Grey lived in Arverne when she allegedly tried to defraud insurance companies out of millions of dollars.

  • She may have thought she had it made in the Florida shade but an alleged scam artist, formerly of Arverne, is behind bars in connection with a major auto insurance fraud investigation.
  • Sandra Grey, 42, lived at 643 Beach 63 Street when she conspired with an NYPD administrative aide, Belinda Lovander, to create four reports for auto accidents that never happened in an attempt to cheat insurance companies out of more than $5.2 million, according to a 33-count Queens Criminal Court indictment filed last week.

    Grey’s alleged cheating ways were discovered when Lovander, of the 113 Precinct in South Jamaica, was charged with creating hundreds of bogus accident reports.

    “Grey was initially viewed during the “Operation Whiplash” investigation as a recruiter of individuals who posed as accident victims,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who added that fraud causes auto insurance rates to climb.

    Lovander pled guilty to creating 22 bad reports and was sentenced to up to six years in prision, according to Brown’s office.

    Investigators linked Grey to four of Lovander’s fabricated reports. Brown said Grey recruited 16 people to take part in the scheme between September 2000 and August 2003. In one of those phony reports, Grey said she was driving with two passengers when she struck another car with three passengers at the intersection of Beach 63 Street and Almeda Avenue.

    Allstate and Progressive Insurance Companies paid out settlements totaling nearly $30,000 including a $10,000 uninsured motorist payment on that “accident” alone. Brown said a total of $72, 438 in settlement payments were made; investigators were able to challenge the allegedly fraudulent claims before those insurance companies and three others sent out payments.

    Grey pleaded innocent at her arraignment last week. Queens Supreme Court Justice James P. Griffin set bail at $300,000. She is due back in court on October 19.

    Grey’s indictment is the latest in a continuing auto insurance fraud investigation – combining the efforts of the NYPD, district attorney’s office, New York State Insurance and Motor Vehicles Departments and the insurance industry.

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