NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Bronx man was caught on video being a Good Samaritan after a truck crash last year. But it was that same video that led to his arrest for insurance fraud.
CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reports on how a would-be hero turned into a hoax.
When an 18-wheel tractor trailer lost control and jack-knifed off the Major Deegan Expressway on Sept. 22 it smashed into a car, pinning it against the center barrier. Seconds later Juan Hernandez, 33, drove by in his SUV and stopped to help, running out of his vehicle to check on the injured drivers. Sanchez showed the surveillance video to Hernandez’s neighbors.
“That’s the kindness of his heart,” neighbor Betty Dennis said.
“He’s a good guy. He’s a great guy, actually,” Joseph Drew added.
Hernandez was clearly a Good Samaritan – at first. He is even seen climbing onto the truck cab to rescue the trapped driver.
But police said Hernandez quickly looked for a way to cash in and told responding officers he was hurt in the accident.
“I don’t think that was right,” a neighbor said.
Hernandez was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Police said the greedy construction worker later made more than $21,000 in medical insurance claims – a red flag for his insurance company, which confirmed Hernandez’s lies on the highway surveillance tape.
Insurance experts said bogus accident claims have skyrocketed.
Last year fraudulent claims in the no-fault private passenger market constituted an additional $241 million,” said Michael Barry, VP of Media Relations for the Insurance Information Institute.
Hernandez’s neighbors did a 180 after hearing the story.
“It is sad that you gonna try to milk somebody for money that you don’t deserve,” Dennis said.
“People always trying to get something over. There’s a lot of scam artists. It’s just wrong,” Drew added.
Hernandez was arrested and charged with insurance fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records. He could’ve been a hero, but now cops say he’s just a hoax.
The drivers involved in the accident were treated for minor injuries. The driver of the car pinned against a barrier collected a total of $200 for his injuries.
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