Police protection?

By James Quiggle
January 1, 2002
Since when did police need protection against their own precinct? An employee with the NYPD helped run a nearly $4-million-dollar auto-insurance scam from — of all places — inside a police station.

Using a police computer in the 113th Precinct, Belinda Lovander wrote 22 fake police reports of car crashes that were totally staged, or in other cases never happened at all. The crime ring used the reports to “prove” the accidents happened so ring members — pretending to be injured in the crashes — could make phony medical claims against auto insurance companies.

Lovander’s boyfriend, a member of the ring, recruited her. All in all, Lovander’s phantom accident reports helped the crime ring make $900,000 in insurance claims for bogus injuries. Another $3 million was ready to be filed when the gang was busted during Lovander’s two-year crime spree.

Her police reports brazenly used the names of unsuspecting officers from precincts around the city. Sometimes the officers weren’t even on duty when the reports claimed they were onsite at the “accidents.”

Cronies outside the department provided Lovander details from fake car accidents, which she wrote up as official police reports. She received $1,000 cash for each report.

Police have busted 115 people involved with the massive fraud ring so far — the largest bust of its kind in New York State’s history. Nearly all have pleaded guilty. Lovander received six years in state prison in March 2002.

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