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Archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Briefly

August 13, 2003

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New York

Hundreds charged in auto accident scam

Hundreds of people -- including doctors, lawyers, chiropractors and psychologists -- have been indicted on insurance fraud and other charges involving tens of millions of dollars in claims on staged auto accidents.

Nearly 600 indictments have been filed in connection with the fraud ring, and further charges are likely, Suffolk County Dist. Atty. Thomas Spota said Tuesday in Garden City.

In all of the alleged accidents, the insurance company was State Farm, which allegedly was defrauded out of $48 million. The average car accident resulted in claims of nearly $800,000, prosecutors said.

The charges follow a yearlong investigation into accidents that took place on Long Island, which includes Suffolk County, and in New York City, Spota said. Only 86 defendants have been arraigned, but the remaining indictments are expected to be unsealed in the coming weeks, he said.

California

Sex predator released from state hospital

A serial child molester who has completed a state-mandated sex offender treatment program was released from a hospital late Tuesday, the first such inmate to go free, officials said.

Brian DeVries was released from Atascadero State Hospital and sent to live in a trailer on prison grounds in the central California town of Soledad, after more than 100 potential landlords refused to house him.

A judge earlier Tuesday ordered the state to release DeVries by Friday despite strident objections from the city attorney and residents of Soledad.

"There was no reason to hold him back. He was ready," said Nora Romero, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Mental Health.

Romero said DeVries, 44, Tuesday night was on his way to Soledad, accompanied by his father, who planned to stay with his son for at least a week.

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