WILKES-BARRE -- It's one thing to make up a story. It is another thing to actually make money off something that's is totally phony. But state agents say that's exactly what happened when three people in Luzerne County collected insurance money by inventing a bogus company.
"Please stay away!"
Frank Capozzi and Krisandra Strausser tried so hard to cover their faces as they left their arraignment in Wilkes-Barre, they walked into a bush. Robert Monaco was a little more chatty.
"I have nothing to say, nothing to do with this."
These three people from Wilkes-Barre face several fraud and theft charges. According to court papers, Frank Capozzi applied for disability insurance in 2011, claiming he got into a car accident and could no longer work. He claimed Strausser and Monaco were his bosses at a company called Hindi Beginnings in Nanticoke.
Months later, the city of Nanticoke awarded Capozzi a snow plow contract. That's when Allstate Insurance and the state Attorney General's Office started investigating the work history of Capozzi, Strausser and Monaco.
According to court papers, the investigation found that the three had never gotten paid through Hindi Beginnings.
According to court papers, this is the address in Nanticoke that these people gave the cops for their business, Hindi Beginnings. But by the looks of it, there`s not been a lot going on in this building for quite some time, and investigators found that there was never any business here.
"That`s just basically been sitting there for the three years that I`ve been living here anyway. No businesses though," said Donny Stevenson, of Nanticoke.
Investigators found Capozzi, Strausser and Monaco were living together here on South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre. This is where they questioned Capozzi about his income. He told officials the amount on his insurance claim forms was the amount he could have made if Hindi Beginnings had been making any money.
"It`s interesting. But it doesn`t surprise me," said Stevenson.
"People do a lot for money these days."
According to court papers, Hindi Beginnings was supposed to deal with construction, web pages, financial consulting, and recording studios.
The three are free on bail. They're due back in court next week.