One New York City Police officer and five of the department’s 911 dispatchers were among 27 arrested for allegedly participating in a vast bribery operation related to no-fault car insurance policies, the Manhattan US Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
The 27 individuals were allegedly part of a scheme to funnel individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents to specific clinics and lawyers in return for kickbacks, according to a federal indictment in the Southern District of New York.
“The charges alleged in today’s indictment describe a scheme that blatantly violated HIPAA laws and actively targeted those the act was established to protect,” FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a news release.
Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman added, “These actions have undermined the integrity of our emergency and medical first responders.”
According to the indictment, Anthony Rose, the alleged ringleader of the operation, and his co-conspirators bribed some 50 people, including hospital employees and the six NYPD employees, in return for the names, contact information and medical information of victims of motor vehicle accidents.
Rose and a team of 10 to 15 people would then allegedly reach out to those victims under false pretenses — occasionally claiming to be affiliated with the New York Department of Transportation — and direct the victims to medical clinics or lawyers’ offices that allegedly paid money to Rose.
CNN was unable to identify an attorney for Rose.
According to prosecutors, the scheme was in operation from 2014 until this month, and directed nearly 6,000 accident victims to offices in on the deal.
The hospital workers and police officials on the take made as much as $4,000 per month, prosecutors said, and the alleged conspirators averaged $3,000 per referral.
Prosecutors also alleged that Rose instructed his team to focus on accident victims from low-income areas. “We need all the hood cases,” the indictment quotes Rose as saying.
In an emailed statement to CNN Thursday evening, outgoing NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill responded to the allegations.
“There is no place for corruption within the NYPD,” O’Neill said. “By tarnishing the shield, as well as their sacred oaths, these employees will be held to the highest account the law provides.”