Homeowners in Superstorm Sandy Case Charge Fraud and Racketeering
Larry Bodine, Editor in Chief of PersonalInjury.com, interviews attorney Mitchell Shpelfogel, about litigation arising out of the denial of flood insurance claims after Superstorm Sandy struck the east coast in October 2012. He is a partner in Pinczewski & Shpelfogel in Brookly, NY.
The "Sandy Docket" consists of 1,800+ insurance claims based in Long Island and Brooklyn, which have been consolidated in the US Eastern District of New York. Some of the difficulties facing claimants include getting discovery of information from the insurance companies, engineering firms and law firms. They have been perpetrating fraud by altering engineering reports, thereby improperly denying claims, according to Shpelfogel.
In one action -- the Dweck case -- he filed a civil RICO racketeering class-action case against Hartford Insurance, their engineering firm and law firm. RICO cases are typically reserved for organized crime corruption cases.
HiRise Engineering PC altered the report, and Nielsen Carter & Treas LLC, a law firm that represents flood insurance providers, either directed or participated in the scheme, while Hartford “knew or should have known” about the fraud and “used the falsified report as an excuse” to deny benefits, the Dwecks alleged in the new complaint in their November lawsuit. Others who participated in the claims process are also named as defendants.