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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
March 4, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Former Burlington County Insurance Company Employee Sentenced to State Prison for $600,000 Theft

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that a Camden County woman was sentenced to seven years in state prison for stealing more than $600,000 from Allstate Insurance Company’s Burlington County Office while employed as a Claims Process Specialist.

According to Vaughn McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Linda Clements-Wright, 46, Sandstone Drive, Sicklerville, Camden County, was sentenced by Burlington County Superior Court Judge John A. Almeida to seven years in state prison and was ordered to pay $74,999 in restitution and $40,000 in fines.

“It is particularly troublesome when insurance company employees engage in fraud,” said Attorney General Harvey. “The public places a great deal of trust in licensed insurance agents and expects them to adhere to high ethical standards. Today’s sentence sends a strong reminder to those who violate that trust. We will continue to aggressively prosecute insurance fraud at every level.”

Insurance Fraud Prosecutor noted that Clements-Wright was convicted on Dec. 16, 2004, by a Burlington County jury on charges of conspiracy, theft by unlawful taking and money laundering. The conviction resulted from a May 22, 2003 indictment filed by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

The Burlington County jury found that between April, 1995 and September, 1998, Clements-Wright, while employed as a Claims Processing Specialist at Allstate Insurance Company’s Burlington County office, fraudulently issued more than 150 insurance claim checks totaling $614,344. The fraudulent checks were issued to at least 11 friends and relatives who were not entitled to the monies.

During the three-week trial, the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud presented evidence that Clements-Wright devised several schemes whereby unauthorized persons would receive and cash Allstate claim checks and then split the monies. One scheme involved cashing claim checks payable to individuals purporting to be elderly Allstate claimants living in senior care facilities but who were unable to directly receive the funds. It was charged that Clements-Wright paid a ten percent commission to these persons who cashed the claim checks; Clements-Wright would keep the balance of the monies. In another instance, Clements-Wright issued unauthorized insurance claim checks to purported claimants for unreported property damage claims.

According to Fraud Prosecutor Gooden-Brown, six co-conspirators who cashed insurance claim checks for Clements-Wright previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and have been sentenced by Burlington County Superior Court Judge Marvin E. Schlosser. The co-conspirators are identified as:

  • Neville L. Holder, 62, Clemson Road, Cherry Hill, Camden County;
  • Neville Louis Holder, 34, Quailridge Lane, Bowie, Maryland (Holder’s son);
  • Lisa Givens, 38, Thompson Avenue, Chesilhurst, Camden County;
  • George Givens, 37, Thompson Avenue, Chesilhurst, Camden County (Lisa Givens husband);
  • Bruce Alston, 49, Lorraine Avenue, Moorestown, Burlington County;
  • Michael McCormick, 42, Sturbridge Drive, Sickerville, Camden County.

State Investigator Darrell Washington, Civil Investigator Kenneth Frazee, and Deputy Attorney General Jacqueline D. Smith were assigned to the investigation. DAG Smith and DAG Allen Ferg represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the trial and the sentencing. In addition, State Investigator Kelly Howard, and Deputy Attorney General Christine Hoffman were assigned to the trial team. The case was referred to the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor by Allstate Insurance Company.

“Insurance carrier employees who commit insurance fraud violate the laws of the State and the trust of the public, and our Office takes these cases very seriously," Fraud Prosecutor Gooden-Brown said. "Today’s significant seven-year sentence sends a strong message to insurance carrier employees who commit fraud. As we have in the past, the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will continue to vigorously prosecute those involved in this type of criminal activity.”

Noting that some important cases have begun with anonymous tips from the public, Prosecutor Brown emphasized that individuals can make a difference. “We need people’s information, not their identities. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have any information about a fraud can call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visit our Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org.”

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