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IG: Husband and Wife Fraudulently Collected Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Smashing Customer’s Car

The owner of a window tinting business in Rockland County, New York, and his wife were arrested for allegedly defrauding the state Workers’ Compensation system after his wife took out a customer’s car on a joyride, getting into an accident, then claiming the crash happened while she was working.


According to the New York State Inspector General’s office, Tammy Pena, whose husband Samuel is the owner and operator of Sam’s Professional Window Tinting in Nanuet, filed a Workers’ Compensation claim in May 2015 after taking a joyride in a customer’s luxury Mercedes Benz SUV, then totaled the vehicle after driving off the road and hitting a tree. The SUV had been at the shop for more than a week before the crash occurred.


Before the accident, Mr. Pena was in constant communication with the owner regarding when the tinting would be finished. Mr. Pena sent a text message to the customer stating that he needed more time to finish the job and that it would not be done until the end of the day. However, the work had already been done on the car and that Mr. Pena’s text message was sent just minutes before Ms. Pena totaled the car.


Ms. Pena sent a Workers’ Compensation claim to the business’ insurance company that she suffered injuries from the accident and that the accident occurred after picking up a client’s car to be brought to the shop, but records showed she was not working at the time of the crash. Her husband later filed documents with the Workers’ Compensation Board and the business’ insurance company corroborating his wife’s claims and falsely stated her salary in the documents. She received more than $45,000 from the Workers’ Compensation insurance company to pay for medical bills and wage reimbursement. Mr. Pena allegedly sent fraudulent information to the insurance company when he applied for Workers’ Compensation insurance so he can receive a reduced premium.


On February 23, 2018, Mr. and Ms. Pena were arrested. She was charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a felony), two felony counts of the Workers’ Compensation crime of Fraudulent Practices, two felony counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and one misdemeanor count of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree. Mr. Pena faced felony charges which included two counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, two counts of the Workers’ Compensation crime of Fraudulent Practices, two counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and two counts of Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree.


When defending insurance claims, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation and to fully utilize the discovery process. Insurance companies, businesses, and individuals often seek the counsel of Montfort, Healy, McGuire & Salley LLP, when involved in an insurance coverage dispute. Our firm assists clients in dealing with issues related to auto accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, personal injury, and municipal liability. For answers concerning questionable, fraudulent, or bad faith insurance policy claims, contact us by filling out our form here.


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