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"If these staged accidents continue unchecked, they will devastate the construction industry"

“This [Staged Accidents bill] is good for everybody. This is good for the workers. This is good for business. This is good for insurance companies – [for] all of us, New York City residents and people that come to work here. We have to stay united and combat this activity,” said Andriana Vamvakas, president of Andromeda Advantage, a construction consulting company, speaking on WMCA-Radio’s The Legal Lowdown hosted by Imran H. Ansari, Esq. in March.


 

Andriana Vamvakas, president of Andromeda Advantage and leading advocate of the Staged Accidents bill, answers to reporters after the introduction of the bill at a press conference held by State Senator Neil Breslin and Assemblyman David Weprin on March 5, 2024, at the State Capitol in Albany. — PHOTO: Gotham Government Relations LLC

 

Vamvakas was discussing the proposed Staged Accidents bill (A8981/S8413), that would make staging a construction site accident a Class E felony. The push for this long overdue and much needed legislation is key to halting the rampant epidemic of fraudulent claims that threatens to cripple New York City on multiple levels.


Waging war against corruption is familiar turf for Vamvakas, who joined Andromeda following a 34-year career with the federal government. As the Northeastern Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Labor, her responsibilities included conducting large-scale, high-profile civil and criminal investigations throughout 11 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands into corrupt practices of union officials, employees, trustees, lawyers, contractors and accountants.


“I’ve developed a good understanding for identifying fraudulent patterns,” said Vamvakas in the radio interview. The rise in fraud, exacerbated by the Covid lockdown, is disturbing and consequential. Vamvakas told Ansari that today half of construction site accidents are labeled fraudulent and coordinated by “gangs” – organized crime syndicates. One red flag to ID a spurious claim is when the allegedly injured party refuses to undergo thorough medical diagnostic testing such as taking an MRI.


Vamvakas said that the average cost of a Scaffold Law claim is about $1.5 million. “If these staged accidents …continue unchecked they will devastate the construction industry in New York City,” she explained, noting that the fraud is costing the industry billions. “These are scams,” she said. “People take advantage of the system.”


Taking a bold stance, on behalf of their clients, Andromeda Advantage is refusing to settle fake claims. Said Vamvakas,” We are not going to settle …We know these are the result of fraudulent activity. We have instructed our lawyers to adjourn these cases and not to settle … We would be rewarding criminality…”

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