Buffalo Man Charged With Insurance Fraud After Fleeing Police

October 29, 2008

A Buffalo, New York man who succeeded in fleeing police only to be arrested hours later when he walked into a police station to report his car stolen now faces charges of insurance fraud and grand larceny, according to state officials.

The New York State Insurance Department reported that James R. Warmuz was arrested on the two charges Oct. 15 following an investigation by Ross McQuade of the New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau, assisted by Buffalo and West Seneca police.

Officials said that the charges are the result of an insurance claim Warmuz filed following an Aug. 5 incident in which his car was damaged while he was being pursued by West Seneca police.

Police said they had followed Warmuz after observing him driving his 2003 Chevrolet Corvette at a high rate of speed. They said he turned onto a dead end street in East Buffalo as he attempted to evade two West Seneca police cars. Officials said he then refused officers’ orders to get out of his car, backed out around the stopped police cars and fled the scene. His car was damaged in the process.

Police said that Warmuz went to a West Seneca police station several hours later, and for reasons unclear, reported that his car had been stolen. He was arrested when officers recognized him as the suspect who had earlier evaded them. He later pleaded guilty to a charge of fleeing an officer and is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 6.

The charges of insurance fraud and grand larceny were lodged as the result of an insurance claim Warmuz filed two days after the incident. Allstate Insurance Co. paid him $1,797 for damages to his car. He is charged with falsely claiming the damages occurred as the result of vandalism when the car was parked in front of his house.

Warmuz could be sentenced to up to three years in prison if he is convicted on the insurance-related charges. He was released pending a hearing in Buffalo City Court scheduled for Nov. 17.

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