Keith Capodicasa, 43, of Orchard Park, has pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia to Insurance Fraud in the Fifth Degree for falsely reporting his car stolen.
Capodicasa is an Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy. He was working in Family Court until being placed on administrative leave without pay pending an internal investigation by the Sheriff’s office.
On June 9, 2015, Capodicasa crashed his vehicle into another car and then reported it stolen to police and to Progressive Insurance Company. After 30 days, the defendant received a check for $21,608 from Progressive paid out to the leasing company that owned the car. Two days after that, the car turned up in the Buffalo City Court parking ramp with a ticket stamped with the June 9, 2015 date.
After getting caught, Capodicasa made full restitution.
Capodicasa got what appears to be a generous plea deal since his guilty plea of Insurance Fraud in the Fifth Degree is a misdemeanor.
Yet the dollar amount of his insurance fraud would have qualified him to be charged with Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree.
According to the Erie County website (erie.gov), “Insurance Fraud in the 5th degree involves intentionally filing a health insurance claim knowing that it is false. It is a Class A misdemeanor.”
“Insurance Fraud in the 3rd degree is filing a false insurance claim for over $3,000. It is a Class D felony.”
It is not clear why Capodicasa was charged with a misdemeanor normally associated with a health insurance claim, or whether he got a more lenient deal from the Erie County DA because he is a fellow Erie County employee and part of the law enforcement community, or whether the average defendant who perpetrated a $23,000 insurance scam would have been allowed to plead to a misdemeanor.
It is worthy of note that a felony charge would have ended the law enforcement officer’s career. A misdemeanor charge leaves it to the discretion of the sheriff as to whether this insurance scammer will continue to enforce the laws of the state and county.
As it stands, Capodicasa faces anything from an admonition not to do it again, to probation, to up to a year in jail when he is sentenced August 11, 2016, 9:30 a.m. by Justice Buscaglia.
Acting District Attorney Michael Flaherty commended the NYS Division of Financial Services for its help in the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Karen Korkuc is prosecuting the case.
According to Findthedata.com, Capodicasa earned $69,963 as an Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy in 2013, the last year information was available.