Friday, 25 June 2010 00:00
A Levittown resident is one of six people who were arrested and charged with stealing more than $239,000 combined in taxpayer money through workers’ compensation and insurance fraud, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice recently announced.
A sweep targeting county residents who steal undeserved workers’ compensation and insurance benefits was the result of an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office, Nassau County Attorney’s Office, New York State Insurance Department, MTA, New York State Insurance Fund, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, Office of the Fraud Inspector General and the Social Security Administration.
Ava Donovan, 61, of Levittown, injured her back in 1994 while working as a data entry clerk and was awarded workers’ compensation benefits of $215 per week, Rice said. An investigation revealed that in 2006 she applied for work as a babysitter with Creative Rent-a-Sitter, Inc. She listed several families on her application as references dating back to 1999, Rice said, and she was hired as a babysitter for a family with three children in Syosset, earning $525 a week. She fraudulently collected $33,755 in benefits, the DA’s office said.
Donovan is charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Penalties for Fraudulent Acts. She faces up to seven years if convicted. Attorney Paul Porty is representing Donovan. Porty could not be reached for comment.
Assistant District Attorney Vickie Curran of the Government and Consumer Frauds Bureau is handling the case for the DA’s Office.
One of the other individuals involved was videotaped by investigators running his limousine business, a task inconsistent with his alleged medical disabilities.
Also arrested are Anthony DiBenedetto, 49, of Massapequa, Alma Coles, 49, of Freeport, Christopher Lent, 43, of Glen Cove, Jennifer McGill, 30, of Farmingdale and Brent Tiringer, 40, of Selden.
When these shameless thieves defraud programs like Social Security and workers’ comp, they defraud every taxpayer in this state,” Rice said. “These critical programs are for the needy, not the greedy. My office will continue fighting waste, fraud and abuse and will arrest and prosecute anyone who tries to get a free ride on the backs of our hard-pressed taxpayers and at the expense of those truly deserving.”
“Workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime,” State Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn said. “It victimizes honest businesses and taxpayers who are forced to shoulder the burden of higher premiums. The New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau is committed to aggressively investigating allegations of fraud and working with the New York State Insurance Fund and other agencies to bring to justice those who commit workers’ compensation fraud. We applaud District Attorney Rice for her efforts in fighting this type of fraud.”
Donovan is next expected to appear in court on June 30.