A Rockland business owner and his wife were arrested Friday on charges they defrauded the workers’ compensation system after the wife crashed a client’s new Mercedes SUV while on a joyride and then claimed it was being used as part of her employment.
Tammy Pena, 46, of Chestnut Ridge is accused of claiming she crashed the SUV while working at her husband's business, Sam's Professional Window Tinting in Nanuet, but investigators found she had taken the car out for a joy-ride, according to a joint statement by Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott and Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
Her husband, Samuel Pena, 44, also took part in the scam by filing false insurance documents to cover the damage, the statement said.
"The defendants’ scheme was devious on several levels," Zugibe said. "These arrests send a clear message to those who are attempting to use the system for their own personal gain that law enforcement’s battle against insurance fraud is ongoing and that those who cheat will be sought and prosecuted.”
Tammy Pena, was charged with grand larceny, two counts each of the Workers’ Compensation crime of fraudulent practices and falsifying business records, and one count of insurance fraud.
Samuel Pena was charged with two counts each of grand larceny and Workers’ Compensation crime of fraudulent practices, falsifying business records and insurance fraud.
According to the statement In May 2015, Tammy Pena filed a Workers’ Compensation claim with the business’s insurer for injuries sustained in a one-car motor vehicle accident when she drove the SUV off of a road near the Penas’s home and into a tree, totaling the vehicle.
Tammy Pena claimed to the business’s insurance company that the accident occurred shortly after picking up a client’s vehicle for services. Contrary to Tammy Pena’s claim, however, she was allegedly not engaged in any work activity at the time of the accident.
The vehicle had been in the Penas’s possession for more than a week before the accident. Prior to the accident, Samuel Pena and the vehicle’s owner were in communications regarding when the vehicle would be finished. Samuel Pena texted the vehicle’s owner minutes before the accident stating that more work was being done and the vehicle would not be finished until later that day. In fact, at the time of the crash, the work on the vehicle had already been completed.
They received more than $45,000 from the Workers’ Compensation insurance company for medical bills and wage indemnity benefits for Tammy Pena’s allegedly fraudulent claim.
The Penas were arraigned on the charges in the Clarkstown Justice Court and released pending a reappearance in court on March 21.
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