NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- An NYPD officer and five 911 operators are among 27 people charged in connection with an elaborate $18 million insurance fraud scheme that authorities say compromised the personal information of 60,000 vehicle accident victims and tried to exploit people from low-income neighborhoods.
The officer, Yaniris "Jen" Deleon, is accused of providing confidential information about car crash victims to people who allegedly committed medical insurance fraud in exchange for payment.
Others accused of providing the information include the five 911 operators, several nurses and other co-conspirators.
According to federal prosecutors, the defendants exploited "no fault insurance" laws by using confidential information to contact victims under false pretenses and steer them to specific medical clinics and lawyers, who were willing to pay kickbacks for the referrals.
The defendants received about $3,000 per referral, prosecutors said.
The group allegedly made about 6,000 referrals beginning 2014, totaling approximately $18 million.
Prosecutors said the scam was masterminded by 51-year-old Anthony Rose of Jamaica, Queens, who had been running the operation since 2014.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said a five-year investigation initiated by his office and the New York State Police exposed systemic flaws in no-fault insurance laws in New York and New Jersey.
"The nature of this fraud and bribery results in higher insurance premiums and unnecessary medical costs which impacts us all," he said. "Hopefully, this prosecution will act as a deterrent to those who seek to profit illegally by gaming the system."
Under the no-fault insurance laws, motorists can count on insurance companies to pay claims automatically for certain accidents. The laws provide for insurance companies to often pay medical service providers directly for treatment to car accident victims, resolving claims without consideration of blame or fault for the accident.
From a "Call Center" in Brooklyn, 10 to 15 workers called accident victims and claimed to be from an organization affiliated with the New York Department of Transportation, the indictment said.
The workers claimed they were calling to protect victims from people who obtain victims' information illegally and mislead victims into seeking treatment with certain providers, prosecutors said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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NYPD officer, 911 operators, nurses charged in $18 million insurance fraud scheme