Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrest and arraignment today of an Elmont man for reporting a Chevy Tahoe stolen to his insurance company even though the vehicle was discovered burning in the Bronx hours before he claimed to have seen it parked in his driveway in Nassau.
Peter Zorlenzan was arrested and arraigned today before Nassau County District Court Judge Colin O’Donnell on the following charges:
• Insurance Fraud in the 3rd Degree (a D felony)
• Falsifying Business Records in the 1st Degree (an E felony)
• Perjury in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor)
• Falsely Reporting an Incident in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor)
Judge O’Donnell released the defendant on his own recognizance. If convicted of the top charge, Zorlenzan faces a maximum sentence of 2-1/3 to seven years in prison. He is due back in court on Dec. 10.
“Even though the victim in this case is an automobile insurance company, this is far from being a victimless crime,” DA Rice said. “Scams like this one contribute to increases in automobile insurance rates for everyone, and that’s why my office will continue to pursue these cases to protect hardworking Long Island drivers.”
DA Rice said that on July 16, 2013 at approximately 9 a.m., Zorlenzan called and filed an insurance claim with Progressive Insurance Company for the theft of his 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe. As part of the claim, Zorlenzan stated that he had lent the vehicle to a friend the night of July 15, but that the vehicle had been returned to the defendant’s Elmont home at 1 a.m. Zorlenzan claimed that the vehicle had been stolen from his driveway sometime between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. on July 16.
The defendant reiterated these claims in a sworn statement made to Progressive as part of his insurance claim.
However, the night before he filed his insurance claim, Zorlenzan’s Chevy Tahoe was discovered burning in the Bronx by the New York Fire Department at approximately 9:48 p.m. – hours before Zorlenzan claimed in a sworn statement that he last seen the vehicle parked in his driveway in Nassau at 1 a.m.
When he was shown pictures of the burned vehicle recovered by the FDNY, Zorlenzan identified the vehicle as the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe that he owned, and had filed the insurance claim for. When informed that the vehicle was discovered burning in the Bronx three to four hours before he claimed to have witnessed the vehicle in front of his home in Nassau County, Zorlenzan denied that it was possible.
The case was referred to DA Rice’s office by FDNY Fire Marshals. Zorlenzan was arrested today by the Nassau County Police Department.
Assistant District Attorney Edward Bradley of DA Rice’s Government and Consumer Fraud Bureau is prosecuting the case. Zorlenzan is represented by Michael Alber, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.