Oneonta, N.Y. Business Owner Pleads Gulity to Insurance Fraud

January 11, 2007

Jeffrey Gelbsman, an Oneonta, N.Y. businessman, has pled guilty to fourth-degree insurance fraud related to a fire that occurred at Monser Brothers Tire Sales, Inc. in Oneonta in August 2002, according to Acting Superintendent of Insurance Louis W. Pietroluongo and Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl. This announcement follows Gelbman’s arrest in April 2006.

Gelbsman’s plea of guilty to fourth-degree insurance fraud is in exchange for a sentence of five years of probation and restitution of $56,592.60. Gelbsman is due to be sentenced on April 2, 2007.

The investigation was the second conducted under a new pilot program initiated by the insurance department in 2006 and the second to end successfully with a conviction. Under this program, the state lends an experienced insurance fraud prosecutor to local counties to act as an assistant district attorney. In this case, the fraud prosecutor was charged with responsibility for investigating and evaluating the merits of the fire and corresponding insurance claim.

Selective Insurance Co., the property/casualty insurer for Monser Brothers Tire Sales, Inc., paid claims to Monser totaling more than $480,000 for the losses the business incurred in August 2002. With the insurance monies, Monser Brothers Tire Sales, Inc. constructed its existing outlet at 375 Chestnut Street. The property on which Monser previously operated, and where the fire occurred, was subsequently sold to the city of Oneonta and converted into a municipal parking lot.

Source: New York State Insurance Department

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