Carlos Becker, 40, a former police officer with the New York City Police Department and Hempstead resident, was sentenced Thursday morning to two years in prison for submitting a false insurance claim after directing accomplices to burn his car.
On Jan. 10, Becker pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for his role in a scheme to defraud GEICO. Becker was also ordered to pay $34,261.19 in restitution to GEICO.
In September 2012, Becker, while employed as a police officer with the NYPD, directed accomplices to set fire to his Range Rover so that he could file a fraudulent insurance claim with GEICO and collect the insurance proceeds. During the early morning hours of Sept. 7, 2012, Becker’s accomplices set fire to the Range Rover on a residential street in Queens. New York City firefighters responded to a 911 call about the fire and put it out.
Becker then submitted a fraudulent claim to GEICO, claiming that the Range Rover had been stolen from a parking space in front of his house in Hempstead, and that the car was later found burned. Based on his fraudulent claim, in January 2013, GEICO mailed two checks to Becker in the amounts of $29,480.86 and $4,780.33.
An ex-cop who pocketed insurance money on an intentionally torched Range Rover won’t be needing a car for a while.
Carlos Becker was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison — a steep price to pay for the approximately $34,000 he got from GEICO for his charred SUV.
According to court papers, Becker’s Range Rover was a headache from the start, requiring plenty of repairs.
Prosecutors in Brooklyn federal court said Becker — an NYPD officer for 10 years once with the elite highway patrol unit — wanted the car burned to get the insurance cash.
The defense said Becker only wanted the car damaged so it would look like a hit-and-run — it was the co-conspirators he brought in for the job who said they had to burn it up, they said.
Either way, the vehicle was destroyed on a residential Queens block in September 2012 and Becker got the money — which he'll have to pay back.
Prosecutors said three days after one of the conspirators destroyed the Range Rover, he also damaged a car owned by Becker’s sister on Becker’s direction.
Becker then stiffed his firebug conspirators, who went on to talk to authorities.
On Thursday, Becker, 40, apologized for the knuckleheaded scheme.
“I take full responsibility for my actions. It’s a humbling experience to be in prison,” he said.
Becker’s been locked up in a tiny protective unit within the Metropolitan Detention Center for almost a year, according to court papers. He admitted in January to committing mail fraud conspiracy.
Judge Margo Brodie said letters of support portrayed Becker, 40, of Hempstead, as a devoted son and dedicated community member. But then there was the fact that Becker, a law officer, ending up breaking the law.
“The only thing I can conclude is it was just for the money,” she said.
The judge noted other eyebrow-raising facts — including the sister's destroyed car and Becker’s BMW that went ablaze in 2015.
Brodie also noted a 2013 incident in which Becker arrested a female driver on a drunken driving charge and got her number. They went out to dinner and drinks weeks later, and she said she awoke the next morning in Becker’s bed with a black eye swollen shut. The woman, Erica Noonan, is now suing the ex-cop in Manhattan federal court. Outside court, Becker’s lawyer, Richard Jasper, said, “It’s just a tragic case. He wants to move on with his life now.