Former N.Y. Auto Body Shop Owner, Employee Arrested for Fraud Scheme

April 15, 2003

New York Superintendent of Insurance Gregory Serio announced that a joint investigation conducted by the Department’s Frauds Bureau, the Niagara State Police and the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office has resulted in the arrest of James Nashwinter of Ransomville, New York and Joseph Naughton of Newfane, New York. Both were charged with insurance fraud in a scheme they were reportedly involved in at Nashwinter’s Auto Service in Lewiston, N.Y.

It is alleged that Nashwinter, 35, the former owner of Nashwinter’s Auto Service, and Naughton, 43, a former employee, made it appear to a customer that her truck’s engine problems were due to the fact that sugar had been put into the gas tank and that the truck needed a new motor. They reportedly informed the customer that because the vehicle had been vandalized, her insurance company would pay to have a new motor installed. The customer believed their statements and filed a $2,300 claim with Progressive Insurance Company.

The investigation reportedly revealed that Nashwinter and Naughton actually put the sugar in the tank, hoping to collect the insurance proceeds from the carrier and caused the owner of the truck to make a fraudulent insurance claim.

Nashwinter and Naughton were arrested and given appearance tickets. They will be arraigned in the Town of Lewiston Court on April 15.

If convicted of these charges they each face up to a maximum of four years in prison.

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