Utica man sentenced to federal prison for staging car accident

A 66-year-old central New York man has been sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $1.4 million for staging a car crash to collect insurance.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Syracuse says Joseph Dellerba of Utica conspired with another driver to stage a vehicle collision in March 2006 in Utica in order to collect insurance and health care benefits. He claimed to have been injured while a passenger in a van struck by a rental truck driven by an accomplice in the scheme.

Officials say he wasn't in the van at the time of the crash, but submitted insurance claims for non-existent injuries and disability. An insurance company paid the bills for his medical care.

Prosecutors say Dellerba sued in civil court and won a settlement of more than $680,000.