Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $3.7 Million in Grants to Combat Motor Vehicle Theft and Insuranc

October 16, 2017

Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces More Than $3.7 Million in Grants to Combat Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Crimes

  • Funding Helps 24 Law Enforcement Agencies Hire Specialized Investigators; Pay Overtime Costs
  • Two Statewide Organizations will use Grants to Provide Training, Education

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $3.7 million in grants to help further reduce motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud in 12 counties across New York. Police departments, local sheriffs' offices and district attorneys' offices in those counties will share the funding with a pair of statewide organizations that provide anti-theft and anti-fraud training programs to law enforcement professionals.

"Car theft and insurance fraud are ultimately paid for on the backs of law-abiding New Yorkers and this funding will give law enforcement agencies in every corner of New York the tools they need to catch these criminals and hold them accountable," Governor Cuomo said. "This is one more step toward a safer and more just New York for all."  

Agencies and organizations will use the grants in a variety of ways, including to support all or a portion of the salaries of assistant district attorneys and investigators specifically assigned to handle motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud cases; pay overtime for enhanced enforcement and sting operations; and offer specialized training for prosecutors, police officers and investigators. The funding also aims to foster inter-agency cooperation during theft and fraud investigations in the target counties. In applying for funding, agencies must outline how they will use the grant to work with other law enforcement entities in their county or region.

The grants are awarded by the state's Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention program, which is overseen by a 12-member Board. The state Division of Criminal Justice Services provides staff to the board and administers the grant program, which targets urban communities with reporting higher rates of fraud and theft, even as statewide totals for these incidents have declined over the past two decades.

DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said, "These grants help police and prosecutors take a big picture approach toward combatting motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud. In addition to providing funding for staff and overtime, the program encourages agencies to work with one another to share information, identify trends, and ultimately bring those who commit fraud to justice."

When comparing 1997 to 2016, reported motor vehicle thefts declined by 82 percent. Last year, there were 14,255 motor vehicles stolen, representing a slight decrease from the previous year. During the nine-year period from 2008 through 2016, reports of insurance fraud peaked in 2014, with 19,912 cases reported to the state Department of Financial Services Insurance Fraud Bureau. Last year, insurance carriers reported 17,549 incidents of suspected motor vehicle insurance fraud, including vandalism, collision damage, falsified motor vehicle invoices and fraudulent insurance cards, to the state. This represented a less than 1 percent increase when compared to incidents reported in 2015.

The grant contract for these awards coincides with the 2018 calendar year and has two, optional one-year renewals. The following organizations and agencies received the grants, which are funded through a $10 fee assessed on insurance policies issued for vehicles registered in the state:

Statewide Training Grants

  • New York Anti-Car Theft and Fraud Association: $65,100
  • New York State Prosecutors Institute: $40,740

New York City

  • Bronx County District Attorney's Office: $329,991
  • Fire Department of New York: $124,800
  • Kings County District Attorney's Office: $250,873
  • New York County District Attorney's Office: $263,445
  • New York City Police Department: a total of $323,873 to three specialized units, the Auto Crime Division, the Fraudulent Collision Investigation Unit, and Patrol Borough Queens South Auto Larceny Fraud Investigation Unit
  • Queens County District Attorney's Office: $560,624
  • Richmond County District Attorney's Office: $50,144

Long Island

  • Nassau County: $260,169, to be shared by the District Attorney's Office, and Nassau County Police Department
  • Suffolk County: $406,766 to be shared by the District Attorney's Office and Suffolk County Police Department

Mid-Hudson

  • Westchester County: $400,377 to be shared by the District Attorney's Office and Yonkers Police Department

Capital Region

  • Albany County: $98,050 to be shared by the District Attorney's Office and Albany Police Department

Finger Lakes

  • Monroe County: $173,020 to be shared by the District Attorney's Office, Monroe County Sheriff's Office, and Rochester Police Department

Western New York

  • Erie County: $248,184 to be shared by the District Attorney's Office, Buffalo Police Department, and Cheektowaga Police Department
  • Niagara County: $152,843 to be shared by the District Attorney's Office, Niagara County Sheriff's Office, and Niagara Falls Police Department

Additional information about motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud in the state and how agencies use this designated funding to target those crimes is detailed in the Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Board's most recent annual report.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state's DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state's Sex Offender Registry.