MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the sentencing of a Baldwin man for having a luxury car torched in Queens in 2012 so that the owner could file and pursue a bogus insurance claim.
Henry Flores, 28, was sentenced by Nassau District Judge Martin Massell to 1-1/2 to 3 years in prison. Flores pleaded guilty to Insurance Fraud in the 4th Degree (an E felony) in March 2014.
“This defendant not only participated in a scam to collect thousands of dollars by torching a vehicle to collect insurance money – he intentionally put the firefighters who came to the scene in harm’s way for his own financial gain,” DA Rice said. “First responders should not have to wonder if the emergencies they are called to are real, or just part of a scheme to make a quick buck. I would like to thank the New York City Fire Department for helping bring this defendant to justice.”
DA Rice said that on Sept. 12, 2012, members of the New York City Fire Department were called to the scene in Queens of a burning 2009 Range Rover. An investigation by FDNY Fire Marshalls determined that the fire had been intentionally set, and identified the owner as a resident of Queens.
On Sept. 17, 2012, the owner of the 2009 Range Rover filed a fraudulent police report with the Nassau County Police Department, as well as a fraudulent insurance claim with Progressive Insurance Company that stated his vehicle had been stolen from in front of a friend’s house in North Bellmore on the evening of Sept. 16, 2012. As part of the insurance claim, the owner sought to be paid at least $38,000 – the total loss value of the vehicle.
A joint investigation by the FDNY and the insurance company revealed that sometime before Sept. 12, 2012, the owner had given the vehicle to Flores and paid him $2,000 to damage and dispose of the vehicle so that the owner could file a bogus insurance claim. As part of that investigation, the FDNY obtained an audio recording of Flores admitting that he had given the vehicle to a third person for the purpose of having it torched in Queens.
Flores also coached the owner in how to file and pursue the insurance claim to ensure that the owner would receive money for the vehicle.
Flores was arrested on Oct. 26, 2012 by the FDNY Fire Marshalls who referred the case to DA Rice’s office. Shortly thereafter, the owner died of natural causes in a Brooklyn hospital. The third person involved in the scheme was not identified.
Assistant District Attorney Edward Bradley of DA Rice’s Government and Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Flores is represented by Laurence Rothstein, Esq.