Cop breaks oath, law with serial car cops

By James Quiggle
December 23, 2015


NYPD cop Jose Urena swore an oath to uphold the law. Instead he broke the law, again and again.

Urena never met a luxury car he could afford, yet kept buying or leasing so many that he repeatedly bilked his insurer to escape high payments during a manic two-year fraud binge.

He worked the 25th Precinct in East Harlem and tossed away a nine-year career in the process.

His scam bender left the launch pad when he leased a Mercedes-Benz ML 350. Nice wheels — a wallet-busting SUV. Someone vandalized the car, Urena told his auto insurer. The insurer paid out nearly $9,300. Turns out the claim was bogus — the damage happened before the reported incident, an investigation by the state AG’s insurance-fraud unit discovered.

Keeping up with the payments proved too much for his overstretched checkbook. Urena dipped into the fraud pool once more.

Falsely reports car stolen

The car needed repairs, he convinced his insurer to pay up. He received a $6,242 check, yet cashed it without fixing the car.

Urena enjoyed motoring around in his Mercedes — so much that he went nearly $2,000 over the allowable mileage limit. Yet the car still had profit potential. He reported it stolen just a day before the lease expired.

In truth Urena handed a crony the keys to dispose of the car so he could duck payments. Officials found it burned out in a Bronx warehouse district just hours after he made the false claim.

Hoping to cover his tracks, Urena signed a notarized affidavit falsely swearing his car was stolen. He also lied during a deposition by his insurer. The Mercedes was stolen and was in good condition at the time, he said.

Despite it all, Urena still couldn’t figure the obvious: A Mercedes was too expensive. So next came a Mercedes S550 — just two months later. The S class is the German carmaker’s upper-end sedan.

He fell behind on the payments and deliberately rear-ended a U-Haul. The collision had such force that the vehicle was totaled. He’d dodged big car payments once again.

The fog finally began clearing, and Urena scaled back his driving ambitions. He next car was a Dodge Charger. This time he was involved in a real crash.

He made an inflated repair claim, receiving an insurance check for more than $7,500. Urena used part of the money to add luxury features, including a new grille, expensive tires and painted roof.

Urena resigned from the NYPD and pleaded guilty. His plea also solved his outsized spending on fancy cars: There are no known freeways inside jail cells. Urena will spend up to six years in state prison when sentenced.

“This elaborate scheme was a brazen attempt to game the insurance system for profit,” said state AG Eric Schneiderman.


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