Dollars and dents

By James Quiggle
January 1, 2003
Nothing was real in Quentin “Flint” Hawkins’ criminal world, except the $10 million of insurance money he stole. Hawkins staged hundreds of fake car crashes… involving fake passengers… who received fake injuries… that led to fake insurance claims. All during a 20-year fraud rampage against auto-insurance companies throughout New York City. His huge swindle helped make the state’s auto premiums among the highest in America.

Hawkins paid stooges $500 or more to be drivers and passengers in cars they maneuvered into low-speed crashes. Many other crashes happened only on paper. Either way, his “injured” passengers received useless treatment from corrupt medical clinics for phony neck, back and head injuries. Then they made bogus injury claims worth up to $50,000 each. Some sued insurers for even more injury money through crooked lawyers.

Hawkins assembled a colorful gang by dangling hard cash as bait. He bribed one police officer to set up bogus car crashes, and another officer to write fake accident reports to “prove” the crashes happened. Hawkins even recruited his own sons as passengers in staged car crashes. He also bribed hospital workers to steer child patients to crooked medical clinics. A former pro wrestling star named Carmine Azzato was a driver in one bogus crash. Hawkins even paid his bowling-alley buddies good money to stage many of the crashes.

Incredibly, one woman sent Hawkins a resume for work as a fake accident victim. Her job skills: “Like riding in ambulances… I look real in a neck brace… Can walk, stand or sit without moving my neck or making my back do much. Am always on the lookout for insurance investigators… I can make a face like I’m in real pain… I can moan when I move an injured leg or arm… I can faint or cry.” She got the job.

Hawkins boasted he raked in $20,000 a week, but he and 60 gang members finally were busted by the state fraud bureau, NYPD and FBI. He landed more than five years in federal prison, in September 2002.

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