[Speaking Truth To Power]
Allstate insurance, the New York Financial Services Department and the New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) are investigating allegations of insurance fraud involving an auxiliary police officer and an officer from the 106 precinct.
The investigations were triggered by a letter to Senator Charles Schumer by a Queens man who claims he’s the victim of on-going malicious prosecution by the Queens District Attorney following a false arrest on Feb. 5, 2018 by an officer named Carlos Bello from the NYPD’s 106 precinct.
The Queens man, Kris Gounden, has been arrested nearly a dozen times by officers from the 106 precinct dating back over the past 12 years. The cases arising from the arrests have been resolved in his favor with: a dismissal by a judge; withdrawal of the case by the DA; or acquittal.
The Black Star News has covered several of the cases in news reports and editorials. I’ve also attended several court dates and witnessed shocking antics by assistant district attorneys from Queens DA Richard Brown’s office.
It’s a wonder that Judge Michelle Johnson, who is presiding over the trial of Gounden, arising from charges from the Feb. 5 arrest –and who has also heard several cases against Gounden– hasn’t thrown out this case and referred for an investigation the serial arrests and prosecutions.
Gounden was arrested on Feb. 5, 2018 after an incident in which he claims Joseph Adorno, the auxiliary officer, repeatedly rear-ended his vehicle, on two instances while he’d stopped at a red light on his way to pick up his children from school. Gounden called 911 at 2:26 PM to report the incident, as records show. He drove back to his home and again called 911 at 2:34 PM, while Adorno allegedly continued to rear-end his car.
When officers from the 106 responded, including Bello, Adorno and his wife –Evaline Orovco– claim that Gounden had struck Joseph Adorno with his vehicle and then sped away. The couple claimed the incident happened after Adorno emerged from B.J.’s Hardware Store at Five Town shopping mall, about 6 miles away from where Gounden had made his 911 calls to report that he was being attacked by Adorno.
The Adornos also claimed they had recorded the alleged hit-and-run by Gounden on their phone video recorder.
Gounden demanded that the Adornos show the video, a recording he made surreptitiously later revealed. Officer Bello, without even asking the Adornos to show the purported video recording, arrested Gounden.
When Bello arrested Gounden on Feb. 5, he wasn’t aware that Gounden had the recorder on his second cell phone running. Gounden is heard giving his account of how Adorno attacked him. Bello is then heard telling Gounden that the Adorno’s say they had a video of him hitting Adorno at Five Towns. Gounden is heard saying Adorno is “crazy” and that he’d never been in Five Towns that day. He’s also heard asking Bello whether he’d seen the video. Officer Bello can be heard saying “no,” before arresting Gounden.
The apparent frame-up then started. On his police report dated Feb. 5, 2018 Officer Bello still wrote down Adorno’s apparent false claim of a hit-and-run. But instead of Five Towns, Bello placed the location of the incident as 116-32 117 Street, in South Ozone Park, Queens, which was precisely the address provided by Gounden to the police dispatcher on his 911 call, and to Bello himself, when he responded on Feb. 5. (The NYPD initially denied Gounden records of his 911 calls, and also denied The Black Star News the records, even after the publication filed a FOIL. The DA provided Gounden with copies after he discussed the case on WBAI radio).
When I contacted Deputy Inspector Brian J. Bohannon, commander of the 106 precinct where Bello is assigned, he didn’t respond to my inquiry about Bello’s apparent false police report. He also didn’t respond when I sent him a copy of Gounden’s surreptitious recording of Feb. 5. Similarly, Queens County DA Brown through a spokesperson declined to comment.
Adorno later filed a claim against Allstate, Gounden’s insurer. It seems that Adorno couldn’t keep his lies straight. Adorno, in his testimony to an Allstate lawyer, Daniel Gilley at an Examination Under Oath (EUO) on April 26, 2018, gave testimony that contradicts his Feb. 5, 2018 police statement to Officer Bello.
Here’s part of what Gounden wrote in his Feb. 28, 2019, letter to Senator Schumer:
“The fraud was committed by an NYPD auxiliary officer named Joseph Adorno, with cooperation from: Officer Carlos Bello of the 106 precinct; Deputy Inspector Brian J. Bohannon Jr., commander of the 106 precinct; and Brian Cox, assistant district attorney in the Queens DA’s office….”
Parts of Gounden’s letter continued:
“I testified before an Allstate lawyer named Daniel Gilley at an Examination Under Oath on and told him exactly what transpired on February 5, 2018, as I have outlined above. Joseph Adorno also testified on April 26, 2018 in his own EUO. He again blatantly lied:
1. Responding to a question from Gilley the Allstate lawyer, Adorno agreed that he had been driving when the incident happened on February 5, 2018; his lawyer Matthew Marchese told him to say he was outside the car. This is all on the transcript.
2. Adorno gave yet a different address as the location of the purported incident which he’d made up. This time it was not Five Towns, and it was not 116-32 117 Street, in South Ozone Park (the one I had provided and the one Officer Adorno wrote on his false police report). Adorno in his sworn testimony gave a third address: 130-34 117 Street, which he said was one block from his home. Magically Five Towns and B.J.’s hardware store had disappeared.
3. In his Allstate EUO he told Gilley that he had just exited his car to go talk to his mechanic when I came driving out of nowhere and struck him with my car and drove off.
4. The intake report at the Queens DA’s office signed by ADA Cox on February 5, 2018, based on information from Officer Bello states that I struck Adorno on his hand. During the EUO Adorno told Gilley it was his neck, his back and his knees that hurt–nothing about his hand.
5. Adorno did not know the address of the doctor who treated him for his injuries
6. Gilley questioned Adorno about several insurance claims he had made in the past for alleged accidents as well.
During this period I was also in touch with an Allstate investigator named Ryan Foley and we exchanged several e-mail messages. I informed him that Adorno, with Officer Bello’s cooperation, was committing insurance fraud. I sent Foley a copy of the audio recording I had made to assist him and Allstate in exposing the fraud. During the course of reporting the story, The Black Star News’ editor Milton Allimadi recently sent copies of the same audio recording to: the Queens DA; the New York Attorney General; to Deputy Inspector Bohannon, commander of the 106 precinct and Bello’s boss; and, to DCPI at 1 Police Plaza.
In spite of the evidence showing Adorno’s lack of credibility and implicating Officer Bello in the fraud, Allstate cancelled my insurance coverage which had been under my mother’s name and paid Adorno more than $14,000 to settle his claim.
To add insult to injury, even though the DA now has all the information to show that I was framed by auxiliary Officer Adorno and NYPD Officer Bello, I am on trial in Queens Criminal Court on these bogus charges before Justice Michelle Johnson. “
Gounden copied the letter he sent Schumer to: Linda A. Lacewell, Superintendent of New York Financial Services; Thomas J. Wilson, Allstate CEO; and, James P. O’Neill, NYPD Commissioner.
On March 5, Gounden spoke to an Allstate Special Investigator named John Addeo by phone. “I explained to him the fraud,” Gounden told me in an interview. “How Adorno gave different accounts of what happened and where it happened. He told me he would look into it.”
Allstate has already paid Adorno’s claim. The company says there is more than one claim out on the case.
Addeo didn’t respond to an e-mail message from The Black Star News, seeking comment. Instead, Christina Kelly, a company spokesperson contacted The Black Star News and said, “Due to privacy laws and restrictions, Allstate is unable to comment on any open claims.”
Gounden sent a copy of his letter to Schumer to Joseph Reznick, the deputy inspector at the NYPD’s IAB. Yesterday, Gounden spoke to an investigator at IAB about the alleged insurance fraud involving Adorno and Officer Bello and he was assigned a case reference number 2019-8917.
Gounden also spoke to an investigator from the fraud unit at the New York Financial Services Department named Ismael Correa and sent him a copy of the letter he wrote to Schumer. “He told me he would determine if it was fraud,” Gounden said.
Correa didn’t respond to an e-mail message from The Black Star News seeking comment.
Similarly, the case worker in Senator Schumer’s office who was assigned to handle Gounden’s complaint, didn’t respond to an e-mail message seeking comment.
Meanwhile, Gounden’s own trial before Judge Johnson, based on Adorno’s shifting statements and the false police report filed by Officer Bello resumes March 7, in Queens Criminal Court before Judge Johnson.