March 21, 2019
Acting Financial Services Superintendent Lacewell and Attorney General James Announce Crackdown on Brooklyn Insurance Fraud Scheme
In Theft Scheme, Barrington Mayne Allegedly Pretended to be an Authorized Insurance Broker in Order to Steal Money From Unsuspecting Car Buyers
KINGS COUNTY – Acting Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell and Attorney General Letitia James announced the arrest and arraignment of Barrington Mayne (34, of Bronx County, NY) on a felony complaint for an alleged insurance fraud scheme. Mayne, who is not an insurance broker, allegedly used his position and contacts at various car dealerships throughout Brooklyn to dupe unsuspecting car buyers into believing that he was an insurance broker capable of obtaining car insurance. Mayne allegedly stole thousands of dollars from victims who were tricked into paying him insurance premiums for purported insurance policies. Mayne is charged with one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree and two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree.
“This defendant allegedly victimized unsuspecting consumers by fraudulently posing as a licensed insurance broker in an effort to line his pockets with thousands of dollars in ill-gotten gains,” said Acting Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell.” The Department of Financial Services is pleased to have worked with the office of Attorney General James in pursuit of our common goal of protecting New York consumers.”
"All New Yorkers pay a price for insurance fraud, which drives up premiums across the board,” said Attorney General Letitia James. "This alleged scheme led unsuspecting customers to believe that they had legitimate auto insurance, only to later find their policies suddenly cancelled. My office will prosecute anyone who breaks the law to take advantage of consumers for personal profit."
In New York State, insurance agents and brokers are licensed and regulated by the NYS Department of Financial Services (“DFS”). According to the felony complaint, DFS records indicate that Mayne was not, and never has been, licensed in any capacity under any section of the New York Insurance Law.
According to the felony complaint and statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, Mayne allegedly demanded thousands of dollars from victims and then duped them into believing that they had purchased automobile insurance policies when, in fact, it was an elaborate scheme to steal their money. Specifically, Mayne allegedly took money from victims for purported insurance premium payments, but instead of paying insurance carriers, Mayne would obtain temporary insurance cards using fictitious banking information, and then allow the policies to cancel shortly thereafter for lack of payment.
If convicted of the top counts charged, Mayne faces up to 1 1/3 years to 4 years in prison.
Defendant Mayne was arraigned today in Kings County Criminal Court and was released on his own recognizance. He is next scheduled to appear in court on May 30, 2019.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Financial Services would like to remind New York State residents to exercise caution when purchasing an auto insurance policy and to utilize the tips listed below to help avoid falling victim to similar scams and fraud schemes.
- Know Your Agent or Broker. Consumers can sometimes be victimized by unscrupulous agents or brokers and discover only after they file a claim that they are without coverage. If a driver is involved in an accident while driving an uninsured vehicle, any personal assets may be subject to forfeiture if that driver is sued for damages. Deal only with licensed agents and brokers. They must maintain proof of licensure – ask to see it.
- Get Proof of Payment. Never make a premium payment in cash. Pay by check or money order made out to the insurance company directly or to the agency, not to the individual agent or broker. Also, always request a receipt.
- Get a Copy of Your Policy. You should receive a copy of any type of insurance policy complete with endorsements and declarations specifically outlining your coverage and its limitations within a reasonable period after your purchase. If you do not receive it, question your insurer, agent or broker. If there is no satisfactory explanation for the delay, contact the Department of Financial Services at (800) 342-3736.
The Attorney General thanks the New York State Department of Financial Services for their assistance in this matter.
The case was investigated by Investigator Michael McNally, under the direction of Supervising Investigators Edward Keegan and Natalie Shifrin and Deputy Chief Leonard D'Alessandro. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator John Reidy.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Brandon Young of the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit, with the assistance of Supervising Legal Analyst Paul Strocko and Legal Analyst Samantha Wintner. The Auto Insurance Fraud Unit is led by Unit Chief Gabriel Tapalaga. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton and Deputy Bureau Chief Joseph G. D’Arrigo. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice José Maldonado.