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October 10, 2013

Former county chamber president indicted

Robinson charged with insurance larceny, fraud

An Otsego County grand jury has indicted the former president of the Otsego County Chamber and another participant in an alleged insurance scam, District Attorney John Muehl said Thursday.

Muehl said he presented the case Tuesday, and the grand jury indicted Robert “Rob” Robinson and his co-defendant, Norman Michaels, on separate charges of second-degree grand larceny, third-degree grand larceny, scheming to defraud and second-degree insurance fraud. Arraignment will be scheduled in Otsego County Court at a later date.

Robinson, an Oneonta resident, was 58 when he was fired in Nov. 2011 from the Chamber. This occurred several days after he was arrested on charges of second-degree insurance fraud, two counts of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records and first-degree scheme.

Robinson allegedly created a fictitious category in the Chamber so that individuals living in the New York City area could be enrolled in its health plan.

Michaels, from Katonah, was 61 when he was arrested last April on second-degree grand larceny charges for allegedly taking $62,000 in commissions from the enrollment of more than 400 people in a phony category of insurance, a state official said at the time. Both remain released on their own recognizance, Muehl said.

There had been a lot of discussions on the charges, and with no agreement being reached it was time to move, Muehl said.

Each of the accused could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

Robinson did not return a message left for comment Thursday. His attorney, Vincent Accardi of Binghamton, said he had not been contacted by the court about the charges so at this point he nothing to say.

Michaels’ attorney, Terence Kindlon of Albany, said that while he hadn’t yet seen the charges, he is familiar with the case and his client denies any misconduct.

“We can’t wait to defend this,” he said.

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