Governor Cuomo Signs Kaplan Bill Criminalizing Staged Car Accidents, "Alice's Law"

(Carle Place, NY) -- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed "Alice's Law" today (S2508), sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-Great Neck), which adds two new sections to the penal law to make it a crime to stage, or arrange to have another person cause, an automobile accident and collision with intent to commit insurance fraud. While insurance fraud was already illegal, there was no criminal penalty available for the crash itself prior to the enactment of this new law.

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said "Many New Yorkers would be shocked to learn that there is no specific crime associated with staging a motor vehicle accident. By finally criminalizing staged collisions, this law will make our roads safer by serving as a powerful deterrent for a crime that puts the safety of the public at risk every day. Additionally, it gives our law enforcement agencies another tool to fight this dangerous crime. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this measure, and look forward to working with him on further legislation to make our roads safer and support law enforcement.”

The legislation, S2508, sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan, establishes a Class E felony for staging a motor vehicle accident when a person intentionally causes a motor vehicle collision, with the intent to commit a fraudulent insurance act. Further, it creates a class D felony for when a person commits the same crime and causes serious physical injury to another person who was not a participant in the crime.

"In New York, we have zero tolerance for insurance fraud, and anyone who puts others in physical danger to further their scheme should be punished accordingly," Governor Cuomo said, "By signing this legislation into law, we are holding reckless individuals accountable by strengthening penalties for motor vehicle insurance fraud and taking a significant step to make our roads safer for every New Yorker."

Staged motor vehicle accidents occur when a person intentionally causes a motor vehicle collision and then makes false insurance claims to recover money for fake injuries or damages. This results in increased insurance costs and premiums for drivers across New York State, and has resulted in countless injuries and even deaths.

The legislation is named after Alice Ross, a devoted wife and grandmother, who was on her way to visit her daughter and grandchildren when her automobile was struck by another vehicle triggering a crash that resulted in her untimely death. This tragedy was the result of an intentional attempt to commit auto insurance fraud by the other driver who planned to file insurance claims and receive a substantial settlement as a result of the crash.

The legislation is also the first bill sponsored by Senator Kaplan to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo.