The Times Union recently published an article about a massive case of insurance fraud targeting the Empire Plan, New York State’s employees’ insurance plan. The corrections officer himself allegedly received over $70,000 for his involvement in the scheme. Now the target of a criminal probe from the Onondaga County district attorney’s office, the alleged scam involved providing hundreds of state workers with high-quality personal earbuds that had been billed to the state’s insurance plan as medically necessary hearing aids costing $3,000 per person.
Over 90 percent of the hearing aid billings were fraudulent, amounting to over $1.6 million dollars being illegally billed. An arrest of the business owner that provided the earbuds and billed them fraudulently was made last November and resulted in charges that include felony counts of insurance fraud and grand larceny.
The investigation has continued to uncover hundreds of more state employees that were solicited to participate in the scheme by the corrections officer who is the focus of the current investigation. The corrections officer suspected of soliciting state employees to participate allegedly targeted other corrections officers at several other prisons across the state: Auburn, Cayuga, Coxsackie, Five Points, Franklin, Mid-State, and Mohawk correctional facilities. Additionally, the staff members at the Willard Drug Treatment Campus were also solicited to become involved in the insurance fraud scheme. While most of the state employees solicited to be involved in the scheme were corrections officers, other targets included hospital workers in central New York and members of the New York State Police.
Grand Larceny Charges
Larceny itself refers to theft, and that includes theft classified as embezzlement. There are two different forms, depending on the severity of the theft: petit larceny and grand larceny. Petit larceny includes theft of property valued at $1,000 or less. Grand larceny is applied when the value of stolen property exceeds $1,000, and is itself broken down into four different degrees:
- 4th Degree: Value of property exceeds $1,000;
- 3rd Degree: Value of property exceeds $3,000;
- 2nd Degree: Value of property exceeds $50,000; and
- 1st Degree: Value of property exceeds $1,000,000.
The more severe the form of larceny you are charged with, the more severe the possible consequences you may be facing are.
Defending Against White Collar Crimes
Insurance fraud and grand larceny are two types of crimes that are referred to as “white collar crimes” because they involve non-violent criminal offenses. While the non-violent nature of white collar crimes may make them appear less severe, they actually carry heavy fines and potentially lengthy prison sentences. In fact, the most extreme form of grand larceny comes with a mandatory prison sentence of up to twenty-five years and a $5,000 fine.
While the fines and penalties may be severe, an experienced attorney may be able to help you minimize the consequences depending on the circumstances of your case. There are specific defenses available to those accused of white collar crimes, like embezzlement, that can drastically reduce the penalties applied if such defenses are successful. In order to determine what the possible consequences for your crime may be, contact Nave Law Firm’s criminal defense team to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave Law Firm are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.